Richmond VA > Citywide Common Items > Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: 2012-10-25

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Adult Drug Court

What are Drug Court programs?

Drug Courts are specialized dockets within the existing structure of Virginia's court system that offer a dispositional alternative to eligible addicted offenders.

The three basic components of Drug Court programs:

  • Strict and frequent probation supervision with urinalysis testing several times per week;
  • Intensive drug treatment and required attendance at Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous several times per week;
  • Frequent reporting to court with immediate sanctions imposed for relapse of program noncompliance. Drug Court participants say that regular appearances before the judge make the difference in working to break their addiction cycle.

Drug Courts involve the united efforts of judges, Commonwealth's Attorneys, defense attorneys, public defenders, treatment clinicians, sheriff's deputies, police officers, probation officers, and court clerks who serve on the local Drug Court team.

  • In Virginia, 32% of all convicted felons are drug offenders.
  • In Virginia, 50% of all convicted felons have evidence of prior drug abuse; 31% are alcohol abusers.
  • In Virginia, 67% of probationers use illicit drugs; 69% of jail inmates are in need of substance abuse treatment.
  • In Virginia, more than 1000 infants were born in 1999 with evidence of illegal drug exposure and another 422 babies had been exposed to alcohol.

Are defendants who plead "not guilty", but are found guilty by the Court or a jury, eligible to participate in Drug Court?

Yes.

Is residential treatment required for every participant in Drug Court?

No. However, many defendants may be required to complete inpatient detoxification before entering the program.

Are defendants required to participate in Drug Court?

No. Defendants voluntarily agree to participate.

Will defendants with regular, temporary, or part-time employment be allowed to continue employment?

Yes, as long as your schedule allows you to participate in morning or evening treatment sessions. The sessions take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. One of the program requirements is that you work 35 hours a week.

When and where are the Drug Court hearings?

Hearings are held every Friday at 10:00 a.m. in the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond, John Marshall Courts Building. However, dates and times are subject to change depending upon the Circuit Court's schedule.

Why are Drug Courts effective?

Drug Court service delivery is based on best practices in addiction treatment, as defined by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, including:

  • Treatment is readily available.
  • Drug Court treatment addresses multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug use.
  • Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical for treatment effectiveness. Drug Courts are designed to last more than a year. Addicts who stay in treatment a year or more are twice as likely to remain drug-free.
  • Counseling and other behavioral therapies are critical components of treatment.
  • Addicted or drug-abusing individuals with co-occurring disorders have their substance abuse and mental health disorders can be treated in an integrated way.
  • Frequent drug testing monitors any use of drugs or alcohol.

How effective are Drug Court programs?

Drug Court costs an average of $4,000 to $6,000 per offender per year while average incarceration costs range from $22,000 to $38,000 per offender per year.

Virginia's Drug Court retention rate is 62.77%; only 10% of voluntary clients complete treatment in Virginia's Community Service Boards (CSB) mental health/substance abuse outpatient treatment.

Virginia's Drug Court felony recidivism rate is 5.9% as compared to a 50% felony recidivism rate for other Virginia drug offenders handled in traditional ways of probation or incarceration.

Assessor of Real Estate

Undergoing extensive revisions at this time. Please contact us for more information.

Auditor

How was my department selected for audit/review?

The City Auditor decides which departments or agencies should be part of the annual audit plan. Several factors are considered and analyzed, including risk assessment, known deficiencies, political sensitivities, major changes, magnitude of funding, and requests from city administration, City Council or management.

What should I do if I suspect fraud, waste or abuse of City resources?

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of city resources, you should contact the city's Fraud Squad either by phone (804)646-5697 or you can filing a report online at www.richmondfraudsquad.org. Reports can be made anonymously. See the Fraud Squad website for potential rewards if costs savings are recognized!

Who receives the audit report?

The audit report is distributed to the department director, chief administrator's office, City Council, the Mayor's Chief of Staff, the City Clerk and the Audit Committee. In accordance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), Chapter 8 - Reporting Standards for Performance Audits our reports are also made available to the public via our website.

Who audits the auditor?

A Peer Review Team "audits the auditor" every three years. As promulgated by Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS), the City Auditors Office is subject to review by a Peer Review Team that is independent of the audit organization. Peer Review Team members consist of experienced auditors specifically trained in the peer review process. The Peer Review is coordinated by the Association of Local Government Auditors (ALGA). See our link for the most recent Peer Review results.

To whom does the City Auditor Report?

The City Auditor reports to the City Council with an advisory reporting relationship to the council-appointed Audit Committee.

What role does the City Audit Department have within the organization?

The City Auditor's Office provides auditing and investigative services to promote accountability over resources, efficiencies in operations, effectiveness of programs, and compliance with laws, regulations, and policies. The objective of these services is to make city government transparent to the citizens through audit and investigative reports.

How does the audit process help my department?

Through the audit process our goal is to help management: enhance controls, maximize efficiency and effectiveness within the department, provide cost savings and revenue enhancement, increase awareness of internal controls, deter fraud and strengthen the effectiveness of management's decision making process.

Carillon

Where is the Carillon located?

The Carillon is located in Byrd Park.

How much does it cost to rent meeting space at the Carillon?

Meetings for 200 persons or less - $195 for a 4 hour period plus $40 per hour operational/staffing fee. Weekday use only.

Meetings for 201 persons or more - $325 for a 4 hour period plus $40 per hour operational/staffing fee. Weekday use only.

Wedding receptions or parties - $1,300 ($250 deposit to the hold date applies) plus $40 per hour operational/staffing fee. The fee applies from the time you enter the building until the time you leave.

There are also other fees. Please call for (804)646-0761, (804)646-0036 or (804)646-0037 for details.

What are the rental hours for the Carillon?

Events at the Carillon can start as early as 8 am, however, all events should end at 11 pm with the exception of a New Year's Eve function, which should end at 1 am.

Note! Due to the Dogwood Dell schedule and Festival of Arts Programs, the Carillon is not available for bookings between June to August or during the month of December, before the 28th.

What are the move-in and clean-up procedures?

Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. is considered move-in time at $100 for the day, anytime other than that is considered overtime, which requires a $40 per hour fee (with a four hour minimum) to cover operational and staffing costs.

Caterers can return on Monday morning for clean-up (tables and decoration, not food) - food service usually comes in through the rear door of the building. For access to the rear doors, caterers are welcomed to park behind the building.

Does the building fee include any equipment?

The basic rental package includes 200 chairs as well as two six-foot long tables. Additional equipment can be rented as follows:

  • 6' round tables - $8.50 each (there are 20 round tables in stock).
  • 6' or 8' rectangular tables - $6.50 each (there are 18 long tables in stock).
  • Extra chairs - $1.00 each (up to 100 maximum).
  • Sound system (podium) - $50 per use plus a $75 refundable deposit.

Can alcoholic beverages be served at events?

Yes, an ABC license must be provided if serving alcoholic beverages. It can be acquired through a caterer. Alcohol is only allowed inside the Carillon. If alcohol is served, arrangements for an off-duty police officer must be made by calling (804)646-0929.

Is insurance needed?

Yes, for large special events and events serving alcoholic beverages, insurance naming the City of Richmond as the additional insured party (all agencies) for $1,000,000 must be provided. The insurance can be purchased through homeowners insurance or possibly be obtained through the caterer. For more information on insurance, call (804)646-0037, (804)646-0036, or (804)646-0761.

What is the maximum capacity of the Carillon?

The maximum capacity is 300 people. One side of the Carillon can comfortably hold 12 round tables (if needed, it is possible to squeeze up to 15 tables). If using the department's chairs, 8 - 9 people can sit at a table. If renting standard folding chairs, 10 people can sit at a table.

Is there a kitchen?

There are no kitchen accommodations, however, running water is available in the housekeeping closet on the first floor.

Are the grounds surrounding the Carillon available for wedding rentals?

Weddings on the grounds of the Carillon may be arranged, only when the client is also renting the interior of the Carillon. If renting the grounds, please include an additional $275 fee for each four hour period.

How are reservations scheduled?

To make reservations, or for additional information, please call our scheduling office at (804)646-0037, (804)646-0036, or (804)646-0761.

Cemeteries

Who is eligible to receive veteran's death benefits?

Service men and women receiving Veteran's Administration benefits at death or who die in a Veteran's Administration hospital. If you have questions, contact the Veteran's Administration Office, 807 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA. (804)786-2261.

What typical benefits will the veteran's family receive?

Basic burial allowance, $300; interment/burial plot allowance, $150; service connected death, up to $1500 in lieu of previous benefits.

What are Social Security benefits at death?

A lump sum death payment will be made to the surviving spouse, provided legal requirements are met; total will not exceed $255. Other survivors' payments may be available. Contact the Social Security Administration with questions: (800)772-1213, or contact one of the local Social Security office locations.

How do I get a copy of my Social Security account: What I have paid to date and what I am likely to draw at retirement?

Write to Social Security Administration, Wilkes-Barre Data Operations Center, P.O. Box 7004, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-7004.

Do I need a will?

Yes. If you do not have a will the State will distribute your property according to the established laws of succession. The court-appointed administrator will say who gets what.

If my spouse and I have joint ownership of property, do I still need a will?

Yes, particularly if you both are involved in a fatal accident simultaneously.

What are the advantages of buying cemetery property now (pre-need)?

There are many advantages of buying cemetery property now. First, you freeze prices at today's rates. Second, you have greater choice selections and you and your family make the selection together. Additionally, you will have the personal satisfaction of having solved a difficult problem and not leaving it to your family - you will avoid unnecessary emotional difficulty of making such decisions during the trauma of death. Ultimately, you will have the satisfaction of knowing your personal wishes and preferences will be fulfilled.

What are the disadvantages of waiting until time of death (at-need) to buy cemetery property?

Prices will be higher, selection will be limited, and someone will have to make the decision alone. It will put great emotional strain on your survivor(s), the decision will be a hasty one, and your survivor(s) will always wonder if they spent too much or too little.

Where are the local National Cemeteries located?

City Point in Hopewell; Cold Harbor in Mechanicsville; Fort Harrison in Varina; Glendale on Willis Church Road in Richmond; Richmond National Cemetery located on Williamsburg Road in Richmond; and Seven Pines, located in Sandston. All burial records are on computer and information can be obtained by calling the Richmond National Cemetery Complex at (804)795-2031.

Additional information and assistance on matters concerning our cemeteries may be obtained by sending correspondence to:

Cemetery Administration Offices
1401 Randolph St.
Richmond, VA 23220
Map It
(804)646-1402

Note: Genealogical information is available to the public by appointment only-Call (804)646-1402.

Clean City Commission

Do I have to use a green bin or can I use any kind?

Use any kind of bin you want - just put it out!

Why didn't they take my boxes?

You need to break down your cardboard boxes so we can put them in the truck.

It's raining.  I don't want everything to get wet.  Should I wait another two weeks?

No.  We will pick them up, rain or shine.

Why don't you take plastic bags?

There currently is no market for such items.  However, many grocery stores do have bins to recycle them.

I live in an apartment complex.  What can I do?

Use the drop-off recycling sites below.  They take everything just as curbside.

Where are the Drop-Off Recycling Locations?

  • Stratford Hills Shopping Center,
    6788 Forest Hill Avenue, near Hathaway Road
    Map It


  • East Richmond Road Landfill
    3800 East Richmond Road
    Map It


  • Richmond Southside Transfer Station
    3520 North Hopkins Road
    Map It


  • Parker Field Annex
    1700 Robin Hood Road, gravel lot behind Credit Union
    Map It


Community Assisted Public Safety

How does Community Assisted Public Safety (CAPS) work?

The CAPS team composed of property maintenance, police, fire, health, zoning and tax enforcement forms the nucleus of each zone's program. The Commonwealth's Attorney, ABC, finance and other departments are heavily involved, as well. The team, lead by the code enforcement official, partners with citizens in each zone to identify, track and abate problems with properties that pose significant public safety or blight issues for the neighborhood. Citizens attend monthly meetings and help to identify the properties they feel need the full attention of the city. The CAPS Team works with other city staff as required and the property owner, and reports progress at meetings. Problem properties, once accepted into the program, are tracked until there is resolution. If property owners are not willing to satisfactorily address their problems, the case may go to court. Should this action be taken, it is vital that citizens attend the court hearings to impress upon the courts that they, too, seek abatement.

How are properties selected?

By completing the CAPS Complaint Form, citizens and the team "nominate" properties that they feel will benefit most from the attention of the CAPS program. Due to the extensive effort required by these problem properties, the team handles only a limited number of cases at any one time. Thus, the group ranks properties in priority order. To be officially addressed and tracked by the team, the property must require the attention of two or more city agencies AND meet one of the following criteria: It must have had previous enforcement activity Or It must have a long standing history Or It must be a public safety concern.

What if a property does not make the CAPS list?

Not every problem property requires the attention of CAPS. Houses with peeling paint, or broken gutters, for instance, may only require a letter from the city pointing out the need for maintenance in accordance with the City Code. These cases will also be actively tracked until resolved, but will not be part of the team’s focus.

How are properties reported?

If you know of properties that are serious problems in your neighborhood, report them to your civic association, which in turn will bring them to the CAPS meetings or attend the CAPS meeting yourself. You also may call the CAPS number, (804)646-CAPS(2277), and request a CAPS Complaint Form. Fax the completed form back to (804)646-5355.

What is the timetable for problem property resolution?

It is not possible to establish a timetable for specific resolutions. Each property is unique. A responsible property owner will probably fix his property in 30 days, with only a letter from the city. An absentee landlord who lives out of state may be an entirely different case, and could take months and months of effort. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to even find the owner to begin the process. What we do know is that there will be measurable improvement in our neighborhoods almost immediately. As owners see that the city and the community are united in the CAPS effort, many will choose to maintain their property voluntarily, rather than be cited by the city, and be subject to code violations, fines, and court appearances.

Who do we contact with questions?

There is a team leader for each area of the city. You may reach the teams by dialing (804)646-CAPS (2277) or by e-mail to CAPS Team.

Community Gardens

What do I need to know about the Richmond Grows Gardens Program?

The City of Richmond is proud to support urban agriculture through its Richmond Grows Gardens Program by making city owned property available for Commercial Gardens and Community Gardens.

What is the difference between a Community Garden and a Commercial Garden?

A Community Garden means city property used to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, wood products or native or ornamental plants for non-commercial purposes, in which there is no exchange of goods for monetary value. A gardener cannot sell anything grown in a Community Garden.

A Commercial Garden means city property leased from the City of Richmond and used by the lessee to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs, wood products, or native or ornamental plants to exchange for monetary value off-site. A gardener can sell what he grows in a Commercial Garden but he must do so off-site.

What is the process to apply for a Commercial Garden?

A Commercial Garden requires a lease between the applicant and the City. First submit an on-line application at www.richmondgov.com/communitygardens. After your application has been reviewed, you will be referred to the appropriate contact in the City of Richmond's Economic and Community Development Department where you will be able to negotiate the terms of your lease which includes a commercial insurance requirement. The lease may be up to five years with renewal periods.

What is the process to apply for a Community Garden?

Only incorporated organizations, unincorporated organizations and government organizations may apply for a Community Garden. A Community Garden requires a permit between the organization (Garden Group) and the City. Only an authorized representative of a Garden Group may submit an on-line application for the permit at www.richmondgov.com/communitygardens.

What is the length of a Community Garden permit?

The permit between the City and the Garden Group is revocable and terminable at will for any reason, upon due notice, by either the City or the Garden Group, and it is for the annual use of city property for a period not to exceed 12 months from the date of any such issuance.

What is the fee for a Community Garden permit?

There is a non-refundable fee of $50.00 for the first year. This fee covers administrative costs from January 1 through December 31 of the calendar year. There is a non-refundable annual renewal fee of $25.

How does the City prioritize applications for a Community Garden permit?

The city will process Garden Group applications on a first come, first served basis. A waiting list will be maintained for applicants when no parcels are available.

Can individuals participate in the Richmond Grows Gardens Program?

Yes. We encourage individuals that want to garden to contact a Garden Group that has a parcel and is offering plots. A Garden Group can choose to divide its parcel into individual plots. If it does so, then the Group must create a process to offer individual plots to approved gardeners on an annual basis subject to renewal on a first come, first served basis. The Group may charge a fee for each plot but the fee cannot be more than $50 per plot. Garden Groups must also have a process to provide a minimum of 10% of available plots to residents that cannot afford the fee charged by the Garden Group. This will help support the City's goal of encouraging and facilitating access to fresh, nutritional food for residents and particularly those in underserved communities.

What are the requirements for the Community Garden application process?

The Garden Group applying for a permit must meet the following requirements: provide proof of insurance in the amount of $250,000; provide an original signed Release, Waiver of Liability, and Indemnification Agreement; pay an application fee of $50 for an initial application or $25 for a renewal application; designate a Coordinator to be responsible for its Community Garden; demonstrate that it adequately informed the neighborhood of its plans to create a Community Garden on a case by case basis as determined by the Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator; and provide an original signed Release, Waiver of Liability, and Indemnification Agreement from each individual who participates in the community garden. Individual waivers are required within seven calendar days of an individual agreeing to participate in the Richmond Grows Gardens Program. Failure to send Individual Waivers will result in the Garden Group being solely responsible for the defense of and compensation for any and all personal injuries and/or property damage sustained as a result of an individual's participation in the Richmond Grows Gardens Program. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator is available to assist your Group with questions about any of these requirements.

Can gardeners sell the items they produce in Community Gardens?

No. Neither Garden Groups nor gardeners can sell produce from a Community Garden. If gardeners want to sell produce they should apply for a lease for a Commercial Garden.

Can gardeners have livestock or pets in Community Gardens?

No pets, animals or livestock are allowed on any Community Garden. Livestock or animals may only be allowed on a Commercial Garden if permitted under applicable City code provisions and the terms of the lease.

Are there maintenance guidelines for Community and Commercial Gardens?

Garden Groups and commercial gardeners are responsible for maintaining the entire parcel in good condition including regular mowing of the parcel, maintaining weeds and grasses, and regular harvesting and removal of dead/dying plants and rotting vegetables. Gardeners must maintain their plot throughout the growing season with active planting, harvesting and weeding. Gardeners shall use only organic fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides, and use them in such a way as not to affect other plots. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator will check all parcels on a periodic basis to ensure compliance with the Rules and Guidelines.

Are fences and structures allowed on Community and Commercial Gardens?

Garden Groups and commercial gardeners may use non-permanent structures such as sheds with non-permanent foundations, fences, raised beds, trellises, and deck box containers. Gardeners must maintain any structures in good repair. The building and maintenance of fences and other structures must adhere to the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines and building code requirements where applicable.

How will gardeners know the soil condition for Community and Commercial Gardens?

All parcels were researched, assessed and tested by the City of Richmond before being offered for use as a garden site. The Richmond Grows Gardens Coordinator will notify the Garden Group or commercial gardener if the parcel's soil condition requires the use of raised beds or containers.

What are the options for watering Community and Commercial Gardens?

The City recommends using water conservation methods such as mulching and selecting plants that use less water. Low-water gardening methods are also encouraged. Options for watering gardens are explained in detail in the "Watering Your Garden" section which appears at the end of the Richmond Grows Gardens Rules and Guidelines.

Economic & Community Development

How do I purchase a Tax-Delinquent Property?

Motley's Auction and Realty Group conducts the sale of tax-delinquent properties on behalf of the city of Richmond. Below are the basic steps a person interested in purchasing a tax-delinquent property should take:

  1. Review the Tax Sale Database.
  2. Visit Motley's Group to view additional details and information.
  3. Complete the Public Auction Form and bring it with you to the public auction. Filling this form out ahead of time will speed up your wait time in the registration line at the auction.

When can the city initiate the sale of tax-delinquent property?

Virginia code 58.1-3965 currently authorizes the city to initiate the sale of tax-delinquent property on December 31 following the second anniversary of the date on which such taxes have become due.

What if the property I am interested in is not currently in the tax sale process?

You can complete a Tax Sale Special Request Form and send it to the city's Tax Sale Review Committee. The committee will review the request to see if the property meets the criteria to be included in the tax sale process.

Does the city place all tax-delinquent properties into the tax sale process?

No. A property must meet certain statutory requirements before it can be placed in the tax sale process and properties are also prioritized according to factors such as public safety issues, blight/condition, the number of years delinquent and amount of delinquency.

Does the city require that persons who purchase though the tax sale rehabilitate the property?

The city will not accept bids from a person who owes taxes to the city or has outstanding code violations. The owner is subject to building code requirements, future real estate taxes and other applicable laws. Certain properties are sold with development agreements that require purchasers to make improvements within a specific time frame.

If I purchase property through the tax sale, am I required to pay the delinquent taxes?

No. The property sells for the amount of the highest bid. The court orders the property sold free of liens and encumbrances. The purchaser receives a special warranty deed.

How much of a down payment is required when you purchase a tax-delinquent property at auction?

A minimum of $2,500 or 20% of the winning bid price, whichever is greater.

What are the required deposits for public auction properties?

The public auction properties require a 20% down or $2,500, whichever is greater, on the day of the auction. The funds must be in the form of

  • cash
  • certified check
  • personal check with a bank letter of guarantee
  • major credit card plus a three-percent fee on the total amount charged

In order to participate in the public auction you must complete the auction registration form and bring it with you the day of the auction.

For specific details or a bidder packet, please contact Motley's Auction House.

How do I pay for my public auction properties and when is the payment due?

All payments for tax sale properties must be made in the form of cash or certified bank funds. The city does not offer assistance in the purchasing of any of these properties. The payment is generally due seven days prior to the court's confirmation of the sale. Specific times and arrangements for payment can be made directly with the appropriate attorney who is handling the tax sale case. Payment must be received in full prior to court confirmation in order to allow the sale to be finalized and the new deed recorded.

How quickly can a new deed be recorded?

Once all payments have been received and confirmation of the sale has occurred, your new deed will recorded by the city. Buyers are required to pay the recordation cost and all related taxes. Each bidder will receive a letter prior to closing stating the exact cost of all fees. A copy of the new deed will be mailed to the buyer after it has been recorded.

What is city-owned surplus property?

Surplus property consists of land and buildings that are owned by the city of Richmond but that have been determined to be surplus by their agency and City Council. Once a property is declared surplus, it is then submitted to the Asset Management Division of Economic and Community Development for review to decide whether the property can be placed on the surplus list or if it will be sold by Request for Proposal (RFP).

All sales must be approved by the city administration and City Council.

Richmond City Code concerning city surplus property

How can I purchase city-owned surplus property?

Interested buyers may submit a letter to Economic & Community Development expressing interest in a particular property. The Surplus Property Offer Letter should include:

  • Address of the property(ies)
  • Offer price(s)
  • Intended use of property(ies)
  • Certified check which is 10% of the offer price or $100, whichever amount is greater, as good faith deposit.

All letters should be mailed to

Attention: Asset Management Division Head
Department of Economic & Community Development
1500 East Main Street, Suite 400
Richmond, VA 23219

Planning and Development Review

What is the purpose of zoning and why do we need it?

The purpose of zoning is to guide and control land and building uses. The intent of zoning regulations is to allow property owners reasonable use of their property as long as it is not incompatible or detrimental to abutting properties. Zoning is an implementation tool of the City's Master Plan, which is a general document that guides future development of the locality. The Master Plan is general in nature and is not static as it is required to be updated every five (5) years.

Implementation of the City's Master Plan and the Downtown Plan are accomplished through the Zoning Ordinance (Chapter 114 of the City Code) and the zoning maps. Every property in the City is mapped and located within a specific zoning classification, which determines how the property can be used and developed. Each zoning district classification incorporates regulations that also govern the density and physical layout of uses within the district. Zoning only regulates private property, it cannot regulate City streets, alleys or sidewalks; the Department of Public Works and the Police Department regulate use of these public spaces.

Where is the Zoning Administration Office located and what are the hours?

The Zoning Division is located within Room 110 of City Hall (900 E. Broad St.) in downtown Richmond and is open to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday. We do recommend, however, that you visit our office between the hours of 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM due to parking restrictions on some adjoining streets. Zoning Staff is also housed alongside representatives of the Permits and Inspections Bureau, which includes Building Inspection staff, as well as staff from Permits & Engineering Services. This gives us the ability to provide a comprehensive one-stop permitting process.

How can Zoning Administration be contacted?

You can contact our office by either calling (804) 646-6340, contacting us at our e-mail address: DCDZoningAdministration@Richmondgov.com or via facsimile at (804) 646-6948.

What does the Zoning Administration Office review?

The Zoning Division reviews applications and other requests to verify that the use and other features of the property are met. Specific uses, such as restaurants, apartments and service stations, to name just a few, fall into several broad categories, these are: residential, business or industrial.

Features of the property that are reviewed include such things as: number of parking and loading spaces and related improvements, yards (setbacks), signs, landscaping, trash collection areas, etc. There are several types of approvals:

Zoning Division Staff reviews are required for the following applications:

  • All Certificate of Zoning Compliance (CZC) applications

  • All Zoning Confirmation Letter (ZCL) requests

  • All Home Occupation (H.O.) applications

  • Most Building Permit applications, except roofing and single-family dwellings with no exterior changes or no history of zoning violations

  • All Certificate of Occupancy applications or requests (299: final via re-routed BP).

  • All Sign Permit applications

  • Any application involving a Demolition Permit or for any exterior work on buildings located within a City Old & Historic District and requiring a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Commission of Architectural Review (CAR). This includes roofing, exterior repairs, window replacement, siding, wall or fencing work and painting (color revisions). These permits are also routed to the Secretary of the Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) located on the 5th floor in Room 510. Properties located within these districts can be found on the City Old & Historic District (PDF) .

  • Electrical Permit applications for exterior parking lot lighting and, in most cases, additional meters in the main building or in an accessory building

  • Plumbing Permit applications for adding plumbing fixtures in accessory structures or plumbing fixtures that might create additional kitchens in main buildings

  • Mechanical Permit applications that include equipment located outside and adjacent to property lines, which is dependent on size and/or the location of the equipment

  • Most Land Disturbing Permit (LDP) applications

Is parking available nearby?

If you are conducting business within the Permits and Inspections Bureau, metered spaces are available in the vicinity with time limits of up to a maximum of two hours and a rate of $.25 per half hour. In addition, there are also several pay parking lots and decks nearby. Rates for pay lots and decks vary, but generally charge less if arriving early in the morning. Please be aware that between the hours of 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., portions of Broad and 10th Streets are designated "No parking" and "Tow Away" zones. Vehicles may be towed if parked at these locations during restricted periods.

What is a building permit and when is one required?

A Building Permit (B.P.) is a document that permits construction or any change to the use of any property, as determined by the Building Code, including additions and alterations and certain accessory buildings or structures (i.e.: garages, decks, walls, fences, swimming pools, signs, etc.). Contact the Permits & Inspections Bureau at (804)646-6955 if you have specific questions on when a building permit is required.

Zoning Division approval is required for most building permit applications, including interior renovations. A building permit application must indicate the existing and proposed improvements to take place on the property. New buildings or additions must also include a survey or site plan (plan of the property showing the location of all improvements in relation to the property lines).

Zoning Staff does not generally review certain applications, such as electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning (HVAC) or roofing installations, which have no impact on the use of the premises. However, in certain cases, zoning review may be necessary if the building is located within the City Old & Historic District, in which Commission of Architectural (CAR) review is required.

Once reviewed, permits (if determined to comply with code requirements) are approved to authorize the requested work. After approval, and once the work progresses, it is necessary to request periodic inspections of the work in order to receive approval of the various phases and components of the construction. Inspections may be requested using our 24-hour automated inspection scheduling system (SPANLINK) at (804)646-0770 and using the required inspection codes and instructions or by accessing our Permits Web Inquiry System. Using this system, you can also obtain information about the review status of your permit.

Once all construction inspection approvals are obtained, your building permit may be rerouted back through agencies that initially reviewed the application to verify that other aspects of the project are satisfactorily complete and the building is ready for occupancy. After all requisite agency inspections are approved; a Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) is issued to occupy the building.

How long is a building permit valid?

Permits are valid for six (6) months from the date of issuance. Every time there is an inspection on the property, the permit is extended for another six (6) months. Two (2) weeks prior to a permit expiring, a letter is mailed to the permit holder and the owner advising them that the permit is about to expire and advising them of the opportunity to extend the permit without an administrative fee. If the permit expires, an administrative fee is assessed to re-instate the permit.

What should I consider when hiring a contractor?

When hiring a contractor, there are some important tips that you may wish to consider.

  • Obtain a written contract. If you have any specific requests, put all specific details in a written contract. This could include what happens if something gets broken while work is being done or a payment schedule being contingent on getting inspection approvals from Permits & Inspections Bureau inspectors during the construction phase. You can obtain further information and access specific items that may be included in a contract by accessing the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation document entitled What You Should Know Before Hiring a Contractor (PDF Format).


  • Hire only licensed contractors. Before hiring a contractor or signing a contract, it is suggested that you obtain at least 3 bids. You should obtain references and review the work the contractor performed on other property. Also, check to see if the contractor is licensed to perform the specific work you are requesting. To check on a contractor's license type and status, call (804)367-8511 or do a License Lookup and access the information online at www.dpor.virginia.gov. You can also check on disciplinary actions occurring since April 1, 2002, through the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. This provides information regarding the licensee, any previous or current complaint histories, and any disciplinary actions involving any licensee.


  • Never pay 100% up front and never pay in cash - It is recommended that you only pay an initial down-payment of 30% of the total contract cost. As specified earlier, the contract should indicate the payment schedule so that you pay as the work progresses. Finally, hold-back 10% until the job is complete and to your satisfaction. Pay for work by either charging it to your credit card, writing a check or obtaining a money order; never pay in cash, because although a contractor can be fined or his license revoked or suspended, there is no state or local authority to order a contractor to refund any monies.


  • Obtain a building permit and receive all required inspections - Make sure the contractor obtains a building permit and receives all of the required inspection approvals. A building permit is required by Virginia law and it is important not to allow any work to begin until this approval is posted on the work site. Your insurance company may not recognize or cover a homeowner's insurance claim in situations where the contractor did not obtain a permit and/or the necessary inspection approvals that verify conformance with code and industry standards.

Can I build a garage or shed on my property?

Accessory buildings (garages, tool and storage sheds, playhouses, etc.), including prefabricated buildings, typically must be set a minimum distance from a property line. This minimum distance, known as a yard or setback, varies and is specified in the Zoning Ordinance. The required yard is dependent on a number of factors, including: the zoning district in which the property is located, the width, shape or orientation or when the lot was created or platted.

In certain districts, an accessory building not exceeding 12 feet in height may be built up to the rear and side yard property line provided it is within an area no more than 30 feet from the rear property line. Height is measured to the mid-point (the area between the eaves and the ridge) of a pitched roof. Accessory buildings on residential property that do not exceed 150 square feet of floor area do not require a building permit, as per the Building Code that is adopted by the City of Richmond. However, such buildings or structures still need to meet the normal yard (setback) regulations specified in the Zoning Ordinance.

Building or placing an accessory building too close to the property line requires that you ensure it doesn’t encroach on a neighboring property or that no overhang, gutter or downspout crosses the property line. It will also, under the Building Code, require specific fire-rating adjacent to the property line and will not permit any wall penetrations (window or door openings) if it is within three feet (3’) of the property line. In addition, locating the building too close to the property line may present maintenance issues; you may need to access the neighboring property in order to paint or repair the building.

The maximum allowable size of any and/or all accessory building(s) cannot exceed the main building’s footprint. In addition, no accessory building within a residential zoning district can exceed twenty feet (20’) in height. .

Erecting or placing an accessory building or structure (fence or wall) on properties located within City historic areas also require Commission of Architectural Review (CAR) approval. It is also recommended that you obtain a survey to ensure the location of the property line(s), any easement(s) and/or underground utilities.

[IMPORTANT - See also: "Can I build anything in the easement on my property?"]

Can I put a Portable Storage Unit (POD) or dumpster temporarily in my yard?

Generally, Portable Storage Units (POD's), dumpsters and similar structures, can be placed in your yard temporarily for up to fifteen (15) consecutive days if you are moving and does not require any permit or approval. It may remain for a longer period during renovation of your property. If it is to remain longer than 15 days, it must meet normal yard (setback) requirements and cannot be located in the front of the building. In cases where you cannot locate the POD in your yard and meet the setback requirement(s), the Zoning Administrator must be consulted. For placement within the right-of-way (street, sidewalk or alley), the Department of Public Works may allow and issue a permit for these structures when they are placed in these locations.

Do I need a building permit to build a wall or fence?

Fences and walls not exceeding six feet (6') in height do not require a building permit. A fence or wall can be located on the rear and side property lines if it does not exceed six and one-half feet (6 1/2') in height with an additional one and one-half feet (1 1/2') in height permitted for posts, columns and gates. In certain districts (R-6, R-7 & R-63), however, fences or walls cannot exceed four feet (4') in height in in the front (between the street line and the main building wall) yard. It is also recommended that prior to erecting a fence or wall you should obtain a survey to ensure the location of the property line(s), any easement(s) and/or underground utilities. Regulations regarding construction of walls as well as locating fences around swimming pools are found within and regulated by the Building Code, as most walls require a building permit. Fences that are electrified or contain barbed or razor wire are also regulated by Section 14-12 of the City Code.

Where can I put an in-ground or above-ground swimming pool on my property?

In-ground and above-ground pools must meet the normal minimum yards (setbacks) of the underlying zoning district. In addition, a pool may not be located in front of the main building wall. To safety reasons, the Building Code requires a fence or wall around pools to meet specific standards regarding type, height and access.

Do I need a permit to erect a tent or stage?

Any stage would require a Building Permit and tents would require a building permit only if it is over 900 square feet. However, a Certificate of Flame Resistance and a permit from the Richmond Fire Department are required for a tent of any size.

Can I build anything in the easement on my property?

Some properties have easements on them that allow the use of the area for specific purposes. These generally include easements for utilities (gas, water or sewer), telephone, cable and power. Since there may be gas pipes or power cables under the surface that could severely injure someone, it is very important not to dig in these areas without contacting Miss Utility prior to any construction or digging. Generally, if you build in an easement, the company or entity that has an interest or ownership in the easement, can remove any improvement (shed, fence, etc.) or vegetation (trees, shrubs, flowers, etc.) without your permission or notification. Typically, an easement is shown on the survey or plat of the property.

How do I resolve a dispute about a property line?

There is nothing that the City can do about this issue; this is a private matter between the individual parties and must be resolved in civil court. Fences and privacy walls (or certain other structures) that are on your property without your permission are a civil matter between the owners and the City typically cannot force their removal. Contact an attorney experienced in real estate or property law in matters regarding property line disputes. The property survey will typically show all improvements on the property, including fences, walls and building setbacks, that may also help assist in determining the location of your property line.

Where can I obtain a copy of my survey or plat?

Surveys of properties, if they exist, are typically recorded with the deed to your property. Deeds can be viewed and copied at the Circuit Court Record Room located in the basement of the John Marshall Courts Building located at 801 East Clay Street (East Clay Street between North 8th & North 9th Streets) in downtown Richmond. Map It

How do I find out if my property is in a historic district?

Richmond has more than 2,000 properties that are either historically significant or are located within the City Old & Historic District. These properties are subject to an additional approval process through the Commission of Architectural Review (CAR). The City Old & Historic District maps (PDF) identifies properties within the City Old & Historic districts as well as individual historic buildings that are subject to CAR approval.

What does being in a historic district mean?

Properties in the City Old & Historic District require, depending on the scope of the work, CAR approval for any exterior change to the building or property that is visible from a public street or alley. Regulated changes might include additions, the replacement of windows or doors, roof materials, fences or walls and paint color. It is advised that you contact the Historic Preservation Division at (804)646-6335 to speak with a staff member about any proposed exterior change(s) to a building, structure or property located within the City Old & Historic District. An informational brochure on Old & Historic Districts and the Commission of Architectural Review, a Handbook with Design Review Guidelines and the Certificate of Appropriateness Application and Instructions may all be found on the Historic Preservation website.

What is a Certificate of Zoning Compliance and when is it required?

A Certificate of Zoning Compliance (CZC) is a permit issued by the Zoning Administration Office that certifies conformance with the City’s Zoning Ordinance. A CZC is required for any use of land, building or structures, or portion thereof, other than an existing single-family dwelling or an individual residential unit (apartment) within multifamily buildings.

A CZC is not transferable and any new owner or tenant must obtain an updated CZC for the use of the premises. An inspection is required to determine if the property complies with zoning requirements.

A CZC is also required in order to obtain a license to operate a business in the city. A CZC cannot be issued for a building or structure unless there is a corresponding C.O. on file that reflects the same use and conformance with the Building Code.

Please consult the Zoning Fee Schedule for the required fee to accompany a CZC request, which is dependant on the specific use of the property.

What is a Zoning Confirmation Letter?

A Zoning Confirmation Letter is a letter indicating conformance with city zoning regulations and is typically requested by lenders, title companies, attorneys and/or prospective purchasers of properties. They are also requested for properties undergoing re-financing arrangements. It is suggested that you request a Zoning Confirmation Letter prior to signing any purchase or lease contract.

Like a CZC, a request for a Zoning Confirmation Letter requires a fee that ranges from $50-$200. Please consult the Zoning Fee Schedule for the required fee, which is dependant on the specific use of the property. A Zoning Confirmation Letter can be requested by anyone and may be used in lieu of a CZC when the applicant is not the owner of the property. Types of reviews conducted for Zoning Confirmation Letters typically include the verification of use, density and subdivision, "buildability" of a property or "lot-splits" of property. Review of some properties may be more detailed or more difficult, but we generally require up to thiry (30) days for completion of a request for zoning confirmation so it is advisable file your request promptly.

What is a Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) and when is one required?

A Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) is a document that is required under the Building Code and authorizes the use and occupancy of any building or structure within the city. A C.O. is typically issued after the completion of a new building or structure, or addition thereto, or after the use of a building or structure is changed.

The C.O. specifies, after the final inspection of the various (i.e. - structural, electrical or plumbing) components of the building, that the use and construction of the building is safe and can be occupied. The requirements for new construction and inspections are the responsibility of the Commissioner of Buildings and the Building Inspection Office staff located within the Bureau of Permits & Inspections.

A C.O. can also be requested independently of any construction work occurring. This type of request is known as an H-CO permit and is also available in Room 110. Certain uses that permit group gatherings (i.e.: restaurants, nightclubs, churches or theatres) require H-CO approval. This ensures conformance with standards mainly related to building and fire safety issues.

The Zoning Division reviews all C.O. requests, whether they are independently requested for existing structures (H-CO) or upon completion of new construction work. Zoning Staff verifies conformance with zoning-related regulations, such as: yards (setbacks), height, parking, signs, landscaping, etc. Due to Zoning Administration's review, inherent in any C.O. approval is compliance with zoning standards.

The Commissioner of Buildings is the official keeper of Certificate of Occupancy records. It is suggested that you call (804)646-6955 to determine what C.O. approvals have been issued for the property.

How long does it take for zoning review approval?

Due to the nature and complexity of individual requests, it is not always practical to guarantee a specific review period for certain applications. However, the Zoning Administration Office does have established permit-processing deadlines and most reviews are completed within 10 working days of submittal although we typically approve half of all permits the same day and approximately 75% within 5 working days.

Certain factors may alter these deadlines, namely: incomplete or inaccurate information or plans, the need for coordination with other agencies, workload and/or inspection requirements.

Home business (Home Occupation) applications are processed "over-the-counter" while you wait. In addition, Certificate of Occupancy applications, as the result of new construction, are scheduled for inspection on the next business day after receipt of the request for a final (299) inspection. To schedule a zoning final (299) inspection:

After zoning approval is obtained, the Permits & Inspections Bureau issues the actual printed hard-copy of the building permit (BP), Certificate of Occupancy (C.O.) or Certificate of Zoning Compliance (CZC) document for display at the property.

What if my project doesn't meet zoning requirements?

Zoning Division staff, during the zoning review process, will contact you if they discover non-compliance with zoning requirements. During these discussions, they will offer you alternatives and suggestions on how the project may be amended to meet code regulations without having to obtain special approval(s). However, in certain instances, your project may require additional or special approval(s) such as an Administrative Variance, Variance, Special Exception, Plan of Development (POD), Certificate of Appropriateness approval from the Commission of Architectural Review (CAR), Special Use Permit, Conditional Use Permit or a Rezoning. In these instances, you will be advised as to whom to contact for your particular situation.

What if I think Zoning Administration Staff made the wrong decision?

If you have had an application denied or if you feel the approval of an adjoining property’s project was not correct, you may appeal the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The Zoning Division has an appeal form that must be completed and submitted with the required filing fee of $250. Once completed, it will be submitted to the Secretary to the BZA for scheduling. For information on the BZA appeals process, contact the Zoning Administration Office at (804)646-6340.

What is a Variance or Special Exception and how do I obtain approval?

An Administrative Variance or a Special Exception is a waiver process whereby the Zoning Administrator or the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) can grant relief from zoning requirements on your property. Either approval process is subject to specific limitations regarding the granting of these waivers, which are the result of a unique or extraordinary situation such as topography, shape of the site or some other unusual factor(s). Administrative Variances typically waive yard (setback) requirements and a Special Exception typically allows waivers to other zoning requirements of the property.

If it is determined that an Administrative Variance or a Special Exception is needed, Zoning Division Staff will assist you. Due to legal notice requirements, you must submit a complete package to the Zoning Administration Office. Both processes require that you submit a completed application and fee, two sets of a survey (or site plan), and design drawings (floor plans & elevations) showing the proposed project. Zoning Administration Staff will prepare the application for your review and approval after which it is formally mailed or filed with the BZA secretary. In the case of a Special Exception request, a public hearing (first Wednesday of each month) is held at City Hall where you must present information as to why your specific request is justified. For information on the Administrative Variance, contact Zoning Staff at (804)646-6340. For Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) Special Exception process information, please contact the BZA Secretary at (804)646-3407.

What is a Plan of Development and when is one needed?

A Plan of Development (POD) is an additional administrative approval process that is required for certain specified uses within the Zoning Ordinance and is granted by the Director of Planning and Development Review. POD review is administered by the Land Use Administration Division and involves the general character of the site and building layout. This includes, but is not limited to, an evaluation of building location(s) on the site, vehicular circulation and parking, screening and landscaping, signage and lighting. Although the formal POD review and approval process takes place as part of permit review, it is recommended that you consult with Land Use Administration Staff in the early stages of project planning for assistance with site layout and Plan of Development requirements as a preliminary Plan of Development submittal will save you time by avoiding delays during the normal permit review process. It is also highly recommended that you obtain the services of a professional to prepare any site or building plan(s). A Plan of Development checklist of submittal requirements can be obtained by contacting Zoning Division Staff at (804)646-6340 or Land Use Administration Division Staff at (804)646-6304.

Can I obtain a copy of the Zoning Ordinance or Zoning Maps?

The Zoning Ordinance is available online or may be purchased for ($15.00) in Room 110 of City Hall.

How do I change the zoning on a property or subdivide a property?

The zoning designation of a piece or property or the applicable regulations may be changed through a request for a Rezoning, Conditional Use Permit or Special Use Permit all of which must be approved by the City Council after public hearings. For this reason, a zoning approval may take up to six (6) months to process. Each zoning application request is looked at independently on a case-by-case basis and must be consistent with the City's Master Plan. You may also wish to review the Subdivision Review Process link for additional information and assistance. You will need to contact the Land Use AdministrationLand Use Administration Division at (804) 646-6304 regarding the rezoning or subdivision of property.

How do I file a zoning complaint?

Zoning Administration responds to reported zoning complaints and concerns. Typical violations include the illegal use or density of property, operation of businesses without required permits, fences that are too high, auto repair operations and parking of commercial vehicles in residentially-zoned areas and similar problems. If you believe someone is violating the Zoning Ordinance, file and monitor your complaint by the following methods.

Before filing a complaint you must obtain the numeric address of the property and the specific nature of the violation. Although you do not need to divulge your name, address or phone number; in most instances it assists us in addressing and responding to your concern(s). If you provide your name, it will NOT be disclosed, because it is protected from disclosure under Virginia law. It is also important that you notify us as soon as any problem is discovered, especially if it involves illegal construction work.

Zoning Division staff will record the complaint information and forward it to zoning enforcement staff for investigation. Zoning Division staff will, if necessary, conduct a site inspection within three days of the assigned date.

If the inspection reveals a zoning violation, the Zoning Officer will send a Violation Notice and Correction Order to the property owners and/or the responsible party within two days of the inspection date. This notice gives the property owner(s) and/or violator a set time-frame, typically 30 days, to correct the violation.

At the end of this 30-day period, Zoning Division staff will re-inspect the property to verify if compliance has been achieved. If the violation has been corrected the investigation is closed. If, however, the violation still exists, the Zoning Officer may initiate court action by preparing a criminal summons in an attempt to obtain judicial remedies to force conformance. Violation of the Zoning Ordinance is a Class I misdemeanor, which means a conviction of a zoning violation is punishable by fine of up to $2,500 and/or up to 12 months in jail, per violation, or some other disposition determined by the court.

What if I get a violation letter from the Zoning Administration Office?

The most important thing you can do is to make contact with the Zoning Division staff member assigned to your case to discuss the notice. To rectify the issue, you may: appeal the notice to the Board of Zoning Appeals, comply with the Zoning Ordinance or obtain special (Board of Zoning Appeals or City Council) approval. The notice of violation will advise you of alternatives, but if you do not respond, you may be summonsed to criminal court. Zoning violations are a Class I misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500 per violation, or some other disposition handed down by the court.

Can I park or store a recreational vehicle or boat on my property?

Yes, they may be parked in residential areas, but it may not be parked in front of the house or within the required side yard (setback) for the zoning district in which you are located. Side yards range between 5-10 feet, depending on the specific zoning district. In addition, you may not use a recreational vehicle for living purposes nor have it connected to utilities, except for maintenance purposes, while on the property.

Can I park or store a commercial vehicle on my property?

Vehicles exceeding 6,500 pounds empty weight, semi-trailers or commercial vehicles may not be parked or stored on properties in residential areas. A commercial vehicle is any vehicle that exceeds 6,500 pounds empty weight, a trailer or semi-trailer, which is designed or used for carrying freight, merchandise or more than 10 passengers, including buses. However, buses used for carrying passengers and parked on a church or school site are permitted. Commercial vehicles parked on the street are regulated by the Police Department as zoning rules only regulate private, and not public, property.

Who do I call inoperable or unlicensed vehicles?

For properties vehicles on private property that have neither a current license plate nor inspection sticker, contact the Property Maintenance Office at 646-419 or use the Citizens' Request System.

Repair of motor vehicles IS NOT permitted in any residentially-zoned district, except for repairs to your personal vehicle(s) and in all districts, junked or dismantled vehicles unfit for operation on the streets must be stored in a fully-enclosed building.

My neighbor has a bunch of junk and trash on his property, what do I do?

Improper storage and accumulation of garbage and rubbish may attract rodents, animals or other vermin, produce noxious odors and create potential health hazards. Garbage should be placed in leak-proof and covered containers. The accumulation of rubbish such as ashes, paper, rags, cartons, boxes, wood, tree branches and yard trimmings, tin cans, metal, discarded appliances and other inoperable mechanical equipment is not permitted and should be disposed of properly. You may contact the Property Maintenance Office at (804)646-6419, visit in person regarding accumulation of these items, or by sending a letter to:

City of Richmond
Property Maintenance Division
900 East Broad Street, Room G12
Richmond, VA 23219 Map It

How high can grass, weeds or shrubs grow before it is a violation?

City Code can require owner to cut grass and weeds on property when it gets to a height of 12 inches. Bushes, shrubs, hedges and other similar vegetation shall not project into the street, alley or sidewalk. Each owner is responsible for his or her property to the center of any alley that adjoins it. Contact the Property Maintenance Office at (804)646-6419, by sending a letter to:

City of Richmond
Property Maintenance Division
900 East Broad Street, Room G12
Richmond, VA 23219 Map It

My neighbor's tree is hanging over my house. Can I remove it?

You generally have the legal right to trim branches of a neighbor's tree that hang over your property line. However, if you seriously damage the tree, you may be liable for the harm done. Trees that may be an immediate danger of falling and injuring someone are typically permitted to be removed. The city does not regulate or maintain trees on private property. It is suggested you contact and attorney experienced in real estate law regarding these issues prior to trimming or removing a neighbor's tree. If the tree is on city property, please contact the arborist in the Urban Forestry Division.

How many people can live in an apartment or house?

Current zoning requirements limit occupancy of individual apartments or houses to a no more than three unrelated persons living together as a single housekeeping unit. Certain facilities may have up 8 persons, plus staff, if licensed by the State of Virginia..

Why do I need to enclose my trash collection (dumpster) facilities?

Since 1976, all buildings and uses have been required to enclose and provide screening around trash collection areas. Screening must be opaque and can be constructed of brick, stone, wood or some other appropriate material. Chain-link fences with slats are not an approved method of screening. Enclosure is required to provide both a visual barrier from adjoining properties or the street as well as to stop trash from blowing onto adjacent properties or public spaces. Before constructing a trash enclosure, submit a plan to the Zoning Division Office for review and approval.

How many pets or animals can I have on my property?

The keeping or boarding of more than five (5) dogs, cats or other household pets over the age of four (4) months is considered a kennel and can only be located within certain zoning districts.

Also, keeping of domestic animals (i.e. - horses, goats, chickens) for non-commercial purposes is allowed, provided that all pens, runs, out-buildings and other facilities for the housing or enclosure of the animals are not less than two-hundred feet (200’) feet from all property lines. This spacing limitation equates approximately with a minimum lot size of one (1) acre.

Can I operate a business out of my home?

A business operated within a house or apartment is known as a Home Occupation and is a permitted accessory use, subject to certain limitations. Generally speaking, certain businesses that do not generate customer or employee traffic, manufacture or store materials or require the use of commercial-sized vehicles are permitted. A Certificate of Zoning Compliance Application and a Home Occupation Rules form are required to be completed and submitted for all Home Occupation approvals.

Approvals can usually been done over-the-counter, but in certain instances, depending on the specific type of business, may need to be inspected. Tenants in rental property need to obtain the owners' (or authorized agent) signature certifying knowledge of the proposed business.

What do I need to do to operate a day nursery?

Care of up to five (5) children, not including children of a family residing on the premises, is permitted within your residence and is exempt from State licensure provided no employees reside off of the premises. However, facilities with more than three children under the age of 2-years are not exempted and shall be licensed.

Day nurseries are permitted accessory uses when located within churches, or other places of worship, community centers or school buildings, provided the outdoor play area requirements are met. This includes:

  • A minimum outdoor play area of 100 square feet for each child enrolled to be furnished upon the premises.
  • The play area shall be enclosed with an opaque structural fence or wall not less than four feet in height, but not in the front yard.
  • No outdoor play area or equipment can be in a required front or side yard.

A day nursery would require a building permit application, including floor plans prepared by a registered architect or engineer. The plans will require the labeling of the use of each individual space as well as the occupancy. It also requires the staffing level, hours of operation and other related operational characteristics (busing, drop-off area, etc).

In addition, you will need to provide a survey or site plan, drawn to scale, showing the existing and proposed improvements, including:

  • Parking
  • Outdoor play area
  • Outdoor play area fencing
  • Location(s) of any play equipment
  • Setback(s)

Does the city enforce any covenants or restrictions applicable to my property?

Some properties in some subdivisions are subject to covenants or deed restrictions that regulate the use of property beyond the limitations of the Zoning Ordinance. These deed restrictions and covenants are private agreements between property owners and are not enforced by the city. Check with your homeowner’s association for regulated items.

Who do I contact regarding requirements for handicapped parking spaces?

You should contact the Permits & Inspections Bureau at (804)646-6955.

Can I look at someone's building plans or a specific file?

Yes, but you may be requested to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request form, commonly known as an "FOIA" request, to access the file information. Within five days, the city will review the information that exists and that which can be made available. Not all information is releasable, as there are some exclusions specified by Virginia law. Depending on the nature of your request(s), the city may also charge you a fee prior to releasing the information. This cost defrays the cost to research, compile and duplicate the information.

There is typically no charge to simply review information unless it requires expansive research or the accompaniment of city staff. In some instances, the firm or individual that prepared architectural or engineering plans may have copyrighted them and, for this reason, they may not be duplicated.

What exterior wall & pole light shielding requirements apply to my property?

There is not a specific answer to this question as it depends on a number of variables. The Zoning Ordinances. has requirements for lighting for parking areas and parking lots. Parking areas and parking lots are required to provide lighting during non-daylight hours if they are to be used during these times.

Lighting shall be designed and installed to concentrate illumination within the parking area or lot as well as to prevent glare on adjoining properties and streets. When lighting is required, the intensity of the illumination shall be not less than one footcandle, but the intensity of illumination cannot exceed one-half (0.5) footcandle at any property line abutting a lot in an R or RO District. The height of lighting structures shall not exceed the height limit of the district in which they are located, and in no case shall they exceed 35 feet in height.

The lighting structure height, type, style and shielding method will impact this requirement. A photometric study will more accurately dictate these variables and photometric plans are going to be required in most instances. Some properties have specific conditions placed upon them by a Special Use Permit (SUP), Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) or Plan of Development (POD) approval, which may be different from these requirements. In addition, installations within the city's Old & Historic Districts may require design review and approval of the Commission of Architectural Review (CAR).

The Zoning Ordinance regulates lighting in other instances and specifies in section 114-670 that "lighting shall be located, directed or shielded so as not to shine directly on adjoining properties or to create a traffic hazard by means of glare or similarity to or confusion with traffic signals, warning lights or lighting on emergency vehicles."

This is interpreted to preclude property owners from installing flood lights that are directed at adjoining properties. A street light, though of great illumination intensity, spreads light over a wide area with the main purpose of providing light to pedestrians while diffusing it at the street line. This would not violate the Ordinance, but a flood lamp directed onto an adjoining house may violate this requirement. Lighting that shines into streets, flashes or causes traffic or other inherent danger, may not be allowed. Very few complaints of this nature are received, but the owner should consult a lighting professional and use some discretion in the interest of being a good neighbor when installing lights on property.

Who do I contact regarding flood plain information?

FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program maps and Chapter 50 of City Code - Richmond's Flood Regulations can provide information on properties within the flood plain or our Zoning Ordinances. Contact Permits & Engineering Services at (804)646-6440 for more specific information.

What is a nonconforming use?

A property is considered nonconforming when it isn't currently permitted in the underlying requirements of the Zoning Ordinance (i.e.: a store in a residential neighborhood). The term nonconforming is also known as "grandfathered" and means that the use is legal, but existed prior to the adoption of the current ordinance.

If the use of the property is nonconforming, special regulations govern these properties. No additions, extensions or structural alterations are permitted without special approval from either the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) or City Council. In addition, signs are limited for these properties and other restrictions on the use of the property may be necessary. To find out specific information regarding restrictions on nonconforming uses, please contact Zoning Division staff at (804)646-6340.

Fire and Emergency Services

Does the Fire Department install and/or inspect child car seats?

Yes, three of the fire stations in Richmond will install and/or inspect child car seats between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Please visit the Fire Department's Child Safety Seat page for more information.

Does the Richmond Fire Department offer a Customer Fire Academy?

Yes, the Richmond Fire Department offers a 10-week Customer Fire Academy periodically. To register, please contact the Richmond Fire Training Academy at (804)646-4809. Click here to learn more.

What permits does the City of Richmond Fire Department Issue?

For information regarding permitting, please refer to the Fire Prevention's Permits page.

Can I check my blood pressure at a Fire Station?

Yes, all Richmond Fire stations provide free blood pressure screenings between the hours of 8am and 8pm. Please understand that fire department personnel may be absent from the station due to various scheduled and unscheduled events.

What is Carbon Monoxide and why should I have a detector in my home?

Carbon Monoxide is a tasteless, colorless, and odorless gas which causes about 300 accidental fatalities in homes annually. Early symptoms of a Carbon Monoxide exposure may include headaches, fatigue, nausea, and confusion. Carbon Monoxide detectors are inexpensive, reliable and can prevent Carbon Monoxide related deaths. To learn more you can download Carbon Monoxide safety brochures here.

Where should smoke detectors be placed in my home?

Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement and in or near every sleeping area. To avoid false alarms keep smoke detectors at least 10 feet from stoves and showers. For more information, click here to download a safety brochure.

How can I be notified when the Richmond Fire Department is hiring?

You can sign up for Fire and EMS related job notifications here. You will be notified for up to 12 months after submitting your email address.

Freedom of Information Act

What is a public record under FOIA?

A "public record" is any writing or recording, in any format, prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. For example, public records may be in the form of handwritten notes, typewritten documents, electronic files, audio or video recordings, photographs, or any other written or recorded media.

Who may request records under FOIA?

  • Citizens of the Commonwealth
  • Representatives of newspapers and magazines with circulation in the Commonwealth
  • Representatives of radio and television stations broadcasting in or into the Commonwealth

Does a request have to mention "FOIA" specifically?

No. The request need not make reference to FOIA in order to invoke its provisions or to impose the time limits for response by a public body.

Does a FOIA request have to be made in writing?

No. A written request is not required. However, from a practical point of view, it is suggested that the request be made in writing (or use any request form provided by the public body). Writing a request provides recourse for both parties.

Can a public body require a requester to fill out a request form?

No. However, a public body may require a requester to provide his name and legal address before processing a FOIA request. [NOTE: This is a tool a public body may use, but FOIA does not mandate that public bodies get identification first.]

How long does a public body have to respond to a request?

A public body must respond within five working days of receipt of the request [NOTE: Count the day after receipt as day 1].

*REMEMBER: Failure to respond to a request for records shall be deemed a denial of the request and constitute a violation of FOIA.

What are the permissible responses to a request?

As of July 1, 2007, a public body must make one of the five responses allowed by FOIA:

  1. Provide the requested records to the requester;
  2. The requested records are being entirely withheld because their release is prohibited by law or the custodian has exercised his discretion to withhold the records in accordance with FOIA;
  3. The requested records are being provided in part and are being withheld in part because the release of part of the records is prohibited by law or the custodian has exercised his discretion to withhold a portion of the records in accordance with FOIA;
  4. The requested records could not be found or do not exist. However, if the public body that received the request knows that another public body has the requested records, the response shall include contact information for the other public body; or
  5. It is not practically possible to provide the requested records OR to determine whether they are available within the five-work-day period, and the public body needs an additional seven work days in which to provide one of the four preceding responses.

Is it required that a public body create a record in response to a FOIA request?

Generally, no public body is required to create a new record if the requested record does not already exist. However, a public body may abstract or summarize information under such terms and conditions as agreed between the requester and the public body.

How much may a public body charge for producing records?

A public body may make reasonable charges for its actual cost incurred in assessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. A public body may not charge extraneous or surplus fees unrelated to the production of the records. [NOTE: This means that a public body cannot factor in expenses such as overhead or the cost of benefits paid to employees.] Charges for copies must not exceed the actual cost of duplication.

A citizen may request that the public body estimate the cost of supplying the requested records in advance. Further detailed guidance regarding charges for the production of records is provided in a separate document entitled "Taking the Shock Out of FOIA Charges: A Guide to Allowable Charges under the Freedom of Information Act."

Can a public body require advance payment?

When a public body determines in advance that the charges for supplying the requested records are likely to exceed $200, it may require the requester to pay a deposit before proceeding with the request. This deposit may not exceed the amount of the advance determination, and the public body must credit it towards the final cost of supplying the records. If a public body asks for the advance deposit, the five-working-day period to respond to the request will be tolled until the deposit is paid.

What can a public body do if a requester does not pay for records provided under FOIA?

Before responding to a new request for records, a public body may require the requester to pay any amounts owed to the public body for previous requests for records that remain unpaid 30 days or more after billing.

Human Resources

How do I create an account and apply for a job online?

Instructions on applying for a job - new applicant.

How do I apply for a specific job if I already have an account?

Instructions on applying for a job - returning applicant

Can I submit a paper application?

The city only accepts on-line applications submitted through Richmond On-Line Staffing System (ROSS).

How often are new job openings released?

New job openings are released on-line every Sunday. However, the city reserves the right to release job openings as needed.

How do I find out what positions are available?

Find jobs at this link.

How can I find out the status of my application?

To find out the status of an application, log into the account from the return user's link on the employment page and click on the 'Application Status' link.

I forgot my account username and password. How do I get it?

Click on the 'I forgot my password' link from the login page within the job posting. You will receive an e-mail with your account information to the e-mail address on your application.

Who will see my application after I submit it on-line?

All information is on a secure web server. Only Human Resources staff and other city department users authorized to review specific job openings will have access to job applications. The city of Richmond does not share its database with other companies or localities.

Can I still apply for a job if I missed the deadline?

Once a closing date has passed, no additional applications will be accepted.

If I previously applied for a position, will you automatically be considered for the same position if it is reposted?

An application must be submitted for each posting. If a position is reposted, a new application is required to be considered for the opening.

Can I update my application after it has been submitted?

Once an application has been submitted, you can not go back and change any information. However, if you need to update your contact information, you can do so by logging back into your account and clicking on the "My Account" link. The updates will appear in your profile.

Who will contact me if I am selected for an interview?

If you are selected for an interview, a department representative will contact you.

How can I determine if I meet the requirements for the position?

The job requirements such as education levels and years of experience are listed in each posting. In order for an applicant to be considered for employment, they should meet or exceed the general job requirements.

What does unclassified and classified employment mean?

Unclassified employees serve at the will of the appointing authority. Classified employees have grievance rights following the completion of their probationary period.

What is a Deferred Compensation Program?

A Deferred Compensation program is a program that allows you to invest today for your retirement. Federal and (in most cases) state income taxes are deferred until your funds are withdrawn, usually during retirement when you may be in a lower tax bracket.

Is it a 401(k)?

No. Government employees are regulated under Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code. Private employers have Section 401(K) programs.

When can I join this program?

All full-time employees may join the program upon date of hire. Deferrals will begin on the earliest payday following receipt of the enrollment form in the Department of Human Resources based on payroll closing deadlines.

How much can I contribute?

You may contribute up to $16,500.00 of your gross earnings each calendar year. There are pre-retirement catch up provisions available as you near your retirement. The city requires a minimum of $5.00 each pay period in order to join the program.

What are my tax savings?

This depends on the amount you defer and your own personal tax situation. It is usually at least 20% of the amount you defer.

Does the city match my contributions?

No. There is no city match.

What investments are available?

There are over 25 investment funds available to you. The vendor also sets up different portfolios of funds to assist you.

More details about the funds, earnings rates, investment fees and risk factors are available in the brochures.

The city cannot give you investment advice. You must make your own investment decisions.

Can I make changes during the year?

Yes. You may change your deferral amount (increase, decrease, start or stop) by completing a change form. You may do this each pay period.

You may change your investments/allocations directly with the vendor by telephone or Internet. Some restrictions may apply when transferring between funds.

When do I get my money?

When you leave city service, either upon retirement or service termination. Should you die, your beneficiary will receive the funds. There is a 60 days wait before the first payment.

You do not need to take the money. You may leave it with the city until age 70.

You must select a payment date within 60 days of leaving city service or payments will default to monthly at age 65. You may change your payment date forward one time only; otherwise, this election is irrevocable.

There is variety of payment options available to you that are described fully in a withdrawal package.

You may also transfer the funds tax free to another government employer if that employer has a Section 457 program.

What is a Small Account Distribution?

If you have not had deferrals for two years and your account is under $5,000, you may have your funds while still working. This is a one time only offer. You may rejoin the program at any time.

Are there any penalties when money is withdrawn?

You will pay the Federal and state taxes upon distribution.

What is an emergency withdrawal?

It is extremely difficult to receive your funds while working. An emergency withdrawal may be made for medical reasons or crises such as floods, fire, hurricanes, potential loss of your primary residence etc. The event must be unforeseen. It must be unbudgetable. It must represent a last resort. It must be fully documented.

What is not an emergency withdrawal?

Funds will not be released for purchases of a home or automobile, education expenses (i.e. college tuition), Normal monthly expenses (e.g. rent, mortgage payments, utilities, credit card bills or car payments), unpaid taxes, travel expenses, bankruptcy, marital separation or divorces or child support and repayment of loans.

Can I borrow from my account?

Yes, you can borrow up to 50% of your current account balance. Only one loan is allowed per calendar year.

Group Life Insurance

What is my Group Life Insurance coverage amount?

You are covered for two times your salary rounded to the higher thousand dollars. In the event of accidental death, you are covered for four times your salary.

What is my cost?

The city shares the cost of this program. You pay .49% of your salary and the city .33%. The deduction is taken the second pay period of each month. Unclassified employees do not pay for this coverage

When does my coverage start?

All full time employees are covered upon date of hire.

Why does the new member enrollment form say Virginia Retirement System since city employees belong to the Richmond Retirement System?

The city joined the State program for life insurance only in 1962. The current carrier for the program is Minnesota Life Insurance Company.

Why is this a mandated benefit?

When the city joined the state program in 1962, all employees were given the option to waive coverage. The State then mandated all new employees must be enrolled.

What is group term additional on my paycheck?

There is a section of the Internal Revenue Code (Section 79) that mandates that the value of coverage in excess of $50,000 in taxable income to employees. The taxable amount is based on your coverage and age less any premiums you pay.

Does coverage cease when I leave the city?

Coverage continues upon early or normal retirement and ceases for service terminations. You may convert your policy upon service termination.

Once you retire, the coverage reduces 25% yearly until it is 25% of the pre-retirement amount. This takes about three years. You do not have to pay for the coverage once you retire.

Can I buy additional coverage?

Yes. You may buy additional coverage for you, your spouse and your child(ren) under the Optional Life Plan.

The amount and cost of coverage is outline in a brochure available from the Department of Human Resources.

You must buy this within 30 days of date of hire. You may add a spouse to your optional policy within 30 days of marriage. You may add a newborn within 30 days of the date of birth.

If you do not purchase coverage as a new employee you may later request the coverage. Each family member to be covered must complete a health status declaration. Based on this information, Minnesota Life will decide whether or not to issue a policy.

You may continue your Optional Life Insurance as a retiree with at least 60 months of coverage. You will pay the same premiums as active employees. You can only continue option 1 or option 2. Coverage reduces at age 65 and terminates at age 80.

You can convert your Optional Life coverage to an individual policy at termination.

What happens if I am on leave without pay?

If you do not receive a paycheck, you are responsible for paying your life insurance premiums by check or money order payable to the city of Richmond. Your payment needs to be sent to the Department of Human Resources. Payment is due on the payday in which a deduction would normally process. Failure to remit premiums will result in cancellation of coverage.

Is there any cash value?

No. This is term insurance. Your beneficiary receives the "face value" of the policy i.e. the amount of coverage in force. It is group insurance and the State is the master policyholder.

Health Care Program

When does my coverage start?

If you are hired between the first and fifteenth of the month, coverage begins the first of the following month.

If you are hired the sixteenth through the end of the month, coverage begins the first of the second following month.

The Department of Human Resources must have the forms to the vendor within 30 days of your date of hire. Otherwise, you must wait for an open enrollment season to join the program.

Does my coverage include dental?

No. If you wish dental coverage you must purchase a separate plan.

What is the cost of the program?

A rate table is available from the Department of Human Resources or your departmental payroll personnel. Deductions are processed the first and second pay period of each month. Deductions are on a pre-tax basis.

Does the city contribute to the program?

Yes. The city contribution is shown on the rate table.

When will I get an identification card?

You will receive an identification card from the vendor about 15 days after the Department of Human Resources sends your enrollment/change form.

Each family member receives a card.

You need to check your identification card to ensure that your social security number, name and physician are shown correctly.

The card also shows co-payments for frequently used services, the vendor’s member services number, your group number and the address needed to file claims.

You should carry this card with you at all times.

How do I know what doctors, hospitals and other services I can use?

A directory of network doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and other services is available online and in the Department of Human Resources.

Can I add a spouse or dependent to my plan during the year?

You may add a spouse within 30 days of marriage. You may add a newborn within 30 days of birth.

If your spouse looses employment, you may add your spouse (and eligible dependents covered by your spouse) within 30 days of the loss of coverage.

You may also add a dependent within 30 days of adoption or receiving custody.

If you do not add your spouse/dependents within 30 days, you may do so during an open enrollment season.

Who does my plan cover?

The city covers full time employees and permanent part time employees working 20 or more hours a week. We cover spouses and unmarried dependent children through age 25 if the dependent is a full-time student or lacks the ability to secure employment due to a physical or mental disability.

What happens if I am on leave without pay?

If you do not receive a paycheck, you are responsible for paying your health care premiums by check or money order payable to the city of Richmond. Your payment needs to be sent to the Department of Human Resources. Payment is due on the payday in which a deduction would normally process. Failure to remit premiums will result in cancellation of coverage. As long as you pay your premiums, the city will continue to contribute its share of the cost.

What is COBRA?

The Consolidate Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows former employees, their spouse and dependents to continue coverage with the city upon service termination, divorce, death or loss of dependent status. You will receive a notice when you first enroll in health care and when an above-referenced event occurs. Your spouse and dependents will also receive a notice upon certain events such as divorce or death. COBRA also applies to your dental coverage.

Dental Program

What Dental Insurance is available?

The city offers a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) and an indemnity program.

The DHMO has a network of dentists and specialists and you must use the network. Each family member may select a different dentist.

The indemnity program allows you to use any licensed dentist. There is a preferred provider group as well. If you elect a preferred provider, your co-payments are reduced.

What other differences are there between the dental plans?

The DHMO has flat dollar co-payments and a 25% discount with network specialists.

The indemnity has percentage co-payments based on the services. If you do not use a preferred provider, you may have to file your own claims. Some dentists require that you make payment and then file a claim for reimbursement. The Department of Human Resources has claim forms available.

When does my coverage start?

If you are hired between the first and the fifteenth of the month, coverage begins the first of the second following month.

If you are hired between the sixteenth and the end of the month, coverage begins the first of the third following month.

The Department of Human Resources must send the forms to the vendor within 30 days of your date of hire. Otherwise, you must wait until an open enrollment season to join the plan.

How much does it cost?

The Department of Human Resources and your department payroll personnel have a rate table available. The city does not contribute to this program. This is a prepaid program. We start deductions a month prior to your coverage effective date. Deductions are on a pre-tax basis.

When will I get an identification card?

You will receive an identification card from the vendor about 15 days after the Department of Human Resources sends your enrollment/change form.

Can I change dentists during the year?

Yes. Just call the member services number on your identification card. Ask the vendor what the effective date of change is. Do not visit your new dentist until the change is effective.

Who does my plan cover?

The city covers full time employees and permanent part time employees working 20 or more hours a week. We cover spouses and unmarried dependent children under age 20 and unmarried children who are full time students to age 25 if the dependent is a full-time student or lacks the ability to secure employment due to a physical or mental disability.

Can I add a spouse or dependent to my plan during the year?

You may add a spouse within 30 days of marriage. You may add a newborn within 30 days of birth. If your spouse loses employment, you may add your spouse (and eligible dependents covered by your spouse) within 30 days of the loss of coverage. You may also add a dependent within 30 days of adoption or receiving custody. If you do not add your spouse/dependents within 30 days, you may do so during an open enrollment season.

What happens if I am on leave without pay?

If you do not receive a paycheck, you are responsible for paying your health care premiums by check or money order made payable to the city of Richmond. Your payment needs to be sent to the Department of Human Resources. Payments are due on the payday in which a deduction would normally process. Failure to remit premiums will result in cancellation of coverage.

Are there other voluntary benefits?

You may purchase the following individual policies within 30 days of your hire date or during on open enrollment season:

  • Short term disability
  • Cancer
  • Accident
  • Hospital Intensive Care
  • Hospital Indemnity
  • Long Term Care
  • Legal Resources
  • Medical and dependent care reimbursement accounts

Since these are individual policies and are designed for you, you must see a service representative to purchase them. The coverage and cost will depend on your selection. The policies are portable should you leave city service.

How does the city calculate the "rolling" 12-month FMLA period?

The city of Richmond uses the "rolling" method for determining the 12-month period in which the 12 weeks of leave entitlement occur. A "rolling" 12-month period is measured backward from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. The rolling method is also commonly known as the "look-back" method. Using this method, the employer will look back over the last 12 months from the date of the request, add all FMLA time the employee has used during the previous 12 months and subtract that total from the employee's 12- week leave allotment.

Does the law guarantee paid time off?

No. The FMLA only requires unpaid leave. However, the city requires employees to exhaust all accumulated compensatory time and shared leave before taking family and medical leave without pay. Employees may use accrued paid leave such as vacation and sick leave (if applicable) for some or all of the FMLA leave period.

Which employees are eligible to take FMLA leave?

Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they have worked for their employer for at least 12 months, and have worked for at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months, and work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

Do the 1,250 hours include paid leave time or other absences from work?

No. The 1,250 hours include only those hours actually worked for the employer. Paid leave and unpaid leave, including FMLA leave, are not included.

Who is considered an "immediate family member" for purposes of taking FMLA leave?

An employee's spouse, son, daughter, and parents are immediate family members for purposes of FMLA.

The term "parent" does not include a spouse's parent.

The phrase son or daughter, as used above, has been defined by the Department of Labor to mean "a biological, adopted, or foster child, stepchild, a legal ward, or a child of a person standing in loco parentis, who is (A) under 18 years of age, or (B) 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability."

Can I take FMLA leave for visits to a physical therapist, if my doctor prescribes the therapy?

Yes. FMLA permits you to take leave to receive continuing treatment by a health care provider, which can include recurring absences for therapy treatments ordered by a doctor for physical therapy.

Do I have to give my employer my medical records for leave due to a serious health condition?

No. You do not have to provide medical records. The employer may however, request that for any leave taken due to a serious health condition, you provide a medical certification confirming that a serious health condition exists.

Can my employer require me to return to work before I exhaust my leave?

Subject to certain limitations, your employer may deny the continuation of FMLA leave due to a serious health condition if you fail to fulfill any obligations to provide supporting medical certification. The employer may not, however, require you to return to work early by offering you a light duty assignment.

Can my employer make inquiries about my leave during my absence?

Yes, but only to you.

Your employer may ask you questions to confirm whether the leave needed or being taken qualifies for FMLA purposes, and may require periodic reports on your status and intent to return to work. Also, if the employer wishes to obtain another opinion, you may be required to obtain additional medical certification at the employer's expense, or rectification during a period of FMLA leave.

The employer may have a specific health care provider contact your health care provider, with your permission, to clarify information in the medical certification or to confirm that it was provided by the health care provider. The inquiry may not seek additional information regarding your health condition or that of a family member.

Can my employer refuse to grant me FMLA leave?

If you are an eligible employee who has met the FMLA notice and certification requirements (and you have not exhausted your FMLA leave entitlement for the year), you may not be denied FMLA leave.

Are there any restrictions on how I spend my time while on leave?

Employers with established policies regarding outside employment while on paid or unpaid leave may uniformly apply those policies to employees on FMLA leave. Otherwise, the employer may not restrict your activities.

The protections of FMLA will not, however, cover situations where the reason for leave no longer exists, where the employee has not provided required notices or certifications, or where the employee has misrepresented the reason for leave.

How much leave may a husband and wife take if they are employed by the same employer?

A husband and wife who are eligible for FMLA leave and are employed by the same covered employer may be limited to a combined total of 12 weeks of leave during any 12-month period if the leave is taken for the birth or adoption of the employee's son or daughter or to care for the child after birth; for the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care, or to care for the child after placement; or to care for the employee's parent with a serious health condition.

If one spouse is ineligible for FMLA leave, the other spouse would be entitled to a full 12 weeks of FMLA leave.

Where the husband and wife both use a portion of the total 12-week FMLA leave entitlement for one of the purposes above, the husband and wife would each be entitled to the difference between the amount he or she has taken individually and 12 weeks for FMLA leave for a purpose other than those listed above.

For example, if each spouse took six weeks of leave to care for a healthy, newborn child, each could use an additional six weeks due to his or her own serious health condition or to care for a child with a serious health condition.

For additional information on the Family and Medical Leave Act, review Administrative Regulation 4.3 and visit the US Department of Labor.

Justice Services


Who can I contact if I think a child is being neglected?

Please call the Richmond Department of Social Services Hotline at (804)646-0438. You can also call the state Child Protective Services Hotline (800)552-7096.

My child continues to stay out all night. Where can I get help?

Please call out Truancy and Diversion Center at (804)646-8976. Our Diversion staff will gladly assist in this area.

My child has been assigned to perform community service. How do I find out about this service?

Please call (804)646-6971. Our Community Service Coordinator will provide information about orientation (youth must attend with parent/guardian) and participation.

Where can I get the name of my child's probation or parole officer?

The 13th District Court Service Unit at the Oliver Hill Courts Building can supply this information. You can call (804)646-2900.

Why does my child have to have his/her blood drawn for DNA?

Virginia law requires that any person 14 years of age or older, who is convicted of a felony, must submit to this procedure.

Why does there have to be a separate system for juvenile and adults?

The juvenile court movement started in the United States in the early 1900's. This was a time when similar movements governing child labor, child abuse and neglect., etc., were popular. The movement for juvenile courts was established by persons who believed that children should be treated differently than adults because they did not possess the same level of knowledge and maturity as adults; thus, they should not be held to the same legal standards as adults.

Why do 'you' give these kids so many chances?

With the exception of very serious offenses, both the juvenile and adult justice systems generally give offenders an opportunity to demonstrate that they can learn from their mistake. These chances are usually combined with probation supervision to ensure the safety of the community and services to help the person overcome whatever deficits they may have, such as substance abuse, job training, etc.

What's the difference between probation and parole?

The judge places a juvenile on probation for an offense to give the juvenile the opportunity to change the behavior causing the problem thus keeping the juvenile out of further trouble. Parole supervision is similar to probation where rules and regulations are concerned. However, parole supervision follows incarceration in a juvenile correctional center.

When kids get committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice, how long do they have to stay?

This depends on the type of commitment the juvenile received. If indeterminately committed by the judge, the juvenile's length of stay (LOS) can be 3 months to a maximum 36 months. An estimated LOS will be projected at the Reception & Diagnostic Center; however, the actual time spent incarcerated depends on serveral factors, including completion of treatment, good behavior, placement plan for transition back to the community, etc. If determinately committed, the judge will determine when the juvenile is released; however, no juvenile can be held in a juvenile correctional facility past their 21st birthday.

What is the Reception and Diagnostic Center?

This state-owned facility was established in 1969 and occupied in 1970 to receive, evaluate, and place all juveniles committed to the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice. The budget capacity of the facility is 166 juveniles and serves the Commonwealth as the reception and classification center for all juveniles committed to the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.

The services provided at the Reception and Diagnostic Center in evaluation and classification render confinement for all juveniles committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice while they undergo academic, medical, psychological, behavioral, and sociological evaluation and classification to determine appropriate treatment, needs, institutional placement recommendation, and a length of stay projection. (1601 Old Bon Air Rd., Richmond, VA 23235 (804)323-2600)

Where are the state Juvenile Correctional Centers located?

Beaumont JCC, with a budgeted capacity of 322, is utilized for the incarceration of older adjudicated males up to age 21. (P.O. Box 491, Beaumont, VA 23014 (804)556-3316)

Bon Air JCC serves an all male population with an average age of 16 who have been convicted of crimes ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Lengths of commitment can be a minimum of 3-6 months to a maximum of 7 years or until the age of 21. (1900 Chatsworth Ave., Bon Air, VA 23235 (804)323-2550)

Culpeper JCC, designed for maximum security, is the first juvenile justice facility in the Commonwealth to house both a correctional center and a detention center. The correctional center houses 18-20 year-old Circuit Court male offenders. Therapeutic treatment services and programs (sex offender, substance abuse, and anger management) are provided for correctional center residents. (12240 Coffeewood Dr., Mitchels, VA 22729 (540)291-2129)

Hanover JCC, budgeted to accommodate 154 juveniles, serves males ages 12-18. Therapeutic treatment services and programs (sex offender, substance abuse, and anger management) are provided for residents. (P.O. Box 507, Hanover, VA 23069 (804)537-5316 )

Natural Bridge serves male juveniles ages 14-20 who exhibit a variety of offenses and are assigned there on the basis of a demonstrated ability to function in an open setting within the framework of a structured program. Residents also participate in a transitional program where they learn citizenship beyond the institution, including social and work responsibilities. (1425 Arnolds Valley Rd., Natural Bridge Station, VA 24579 (540)291-2129)

Oak Ridge houses 40 male offenders with developmental disabilities and devere behavioral disorders. Residents typically have an extensive history of maladaptive behavior and some have been committed for serious offenses. Sex offender and substance abuse treatment programs are provided. (1801 Old Bon Air Rd., Bon Air, Richmond, VA 23235 (804)323-2335)

Now that I'm an adult, how can I get information about my juvenile court record?

Please call the Clerk's Office at the Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court at (804)646-2942.

Mayor

I believe I have received a parking ticket in error. Is appearing in Richmond Traffic Court the only way to appeal a parking ticket in the city?

You may appeal a parking citation in one of two ways: administratively, or directly in Richmond Traffic Court.

Administrative review of a parking citation is limited to the following:

  • malfunctioning parking meter
  • fallen or misplaced permit or placard
  • missing, illegible, ambiguously worded sign
  • stolen or transferred vehicle
  • stolen or lost license plate
  • sign or other parking prohibition installed subsequent parking
  • disabled vehicle
  • medical emergency
  • owner deceased
  • restrict parking permit

You may appeal your parking citation by submitting an Administrative Review Form and proper documentation to a Parking Customer Service Specialist (PCSS). The PCSS will either schedule an appointment with you or contact you by phone, mail, fax, or e-mail, regarding your appeal.

I would like to propose a city of Richmond license plate, to show pride in the city.

One of my goals as Mayor is to restore a sense of pride in our great city. A city of Richmond license plate could be a component of this effort, and I am in process of reviewing the requirements with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. If the situation is beneficial for Richmond and its residents, we will be certain to notify our citizens with instructions of how to obtain a city of Richmond plate.

Why doesn't the Richmond Fire Department should form a volunteer firefighters program like Chesterfield, Hanover and other localities to supplement the paid city firefighters? Freeze hiring new firefighters and start placing skilled volunteers. Many retired firemen in nearby counties would enjoy volunteering for Richmond, saving taxpayers money.

Before becoming a paid municipal fire department in 1858, the city of Richmond relied upon individual volunteer fire companies located throughout the city. As the city began to grow in size and population, naturally the calls for service for the Fire Department grew as well. In setting the trend as the sixth oldest paid fire department in the country, Richmond realized that a fully staffed and trained fire department was necessary to provide its citizens with greater guarantee of adequate firefighting resources comprised of highly-trained personnel through consistent and timely response.

Today, this continues to be necessary in urban localities due to population densities, close proximity and construction of buildings, call volume and demand for various emergency services to include Emergency Medical System (EMS) services, Hazardous Materials response, Water Rescue, Heavy and Tactical Rescue, in addition to the traditional role of fire protection. Richmond is certainly no different. Some suburban departments that have moderate building and population densities, modern construction, and relatively low call volumes can supplement their career firefighting force with volunteer resources. However, nearly all urban and metropolitan fire departments have been forced to phase out volunteer programs as too costly to maintain and manage for the availability and consistent response reliability they provide over the long term. Richmond Firefighters are required to go through hundreds of hours of training during a 20-week recruit academy before being assigned to a fire station. They are then required to maintain that training on a monthly basis and recertify regularly throughout their careers.

Rather than struggle to effectively utilize traditional volunteer firefighter resources, the Richmond Fire Department embraces many programs that allow interested citizens and aspiring firefighters to learn broadly about the fire service and to get an up-close, hands-on look at what it takes to be a firefighter for the city of Richmond. These include programs aimed at young people such as our Fire Explorer Post and the Fire Cadet program at the Franklin Military through a partnership we have with Richmond Public Schools. Programs for interested adult community members include our Ride-Along Program, and annual Citizens Fire Academy. Finally, we do have opportunities to volunteer in supporting capacities through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program, and we are currently developing additional opportunities as part of the Fire Corps in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

Why doesn't Richmind increase the Neighborhood Assistance Officer (NAO) program of volunteers to help the Richmond Police. I was a former NAO in the 1980's and would enjoy giving back to the city. Right now, the city Emergency Management is lacking in volunteers and its CERT program has been slow. NAO's could be used more often in security of city facilities or in times of need.

Richmond's Neighborhood Assistance Officer (NAO) program is actually quite strong. There are currently 29 NAO's assisting the Richmond Police Department in areas such as traffic control, tagging abandoned vehicles, and towing cars. The program is an excellent tool to ensure that police officers are free to protect citizens rather than becoming involved in minor traffic-related duties.

If you're interested in the city's NAO program, the Richmond Police Department holds several NAO Academies each year to give citizens basic knowledge to succeed as an NAO. Contact Eva Bonaparte with the city's Community Care Group at (804)646-5334 for more information.

Unrelated to the NAO program, the city's Department of Emergency Management regularly conducts free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training on basic disaster response methods. Several classes are held throughout the year. For more information, contact the city's Office of Emergency Management for more information.

Minority Business Development

I own a small minority business. How can I win city contracts?

The city's minority participation rate is an outstanding 18.5 percent as compared to only two percent for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our office instituted new procedures to increase the minority contracting with the city. For too long, minority businesses were not working in Richmond and that has changed.

A ground-breaking strategic alliance between the city and the U.S. Small Business Administration will further enhance minority business development services for businesses like yours.

Are there any city programs that help small businesses?

The city provides financial support to small businesses through Commercial Area Revitalization Effort (CARE) and Enterprise Zone grants that can be used for interior and exterior improvements, sprinkler or fire suppression system upgrades and other approved uses.

I would like to start my own business, but I have a felony on my record. Is there anyone at the city who can assist me in getting my business started?

Our office offers start-up information and other assistance to help individuals who want to go into business. Please contact us for more information.

We also help those still incarcerated by supporting the City Jail's Belief Program, a 12-step peer-to-peer program that helps inmates who are preparing for their release. This educational assistance improves their chances of successfully re-entering society and, at the same time, helps to reduce the jail's recidivism rate.

Parking

What is the time permitted to park at a parking meter in the City of Richmond?

The time permitted at each meter is noted on the meter.  The times to park at specific meters may vary from
15 minutes to 2 hours.  Also, there are times of the day, i.e. peak traffic times of 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. and
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., where parking is not permitted even though a parking meter may be present at that location.

Are the owner’s of vehicles with handicapped placards or handicapped plates issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles permitted to park longer than the stated hours on the meter?

Yes.  A vehicle with such placards or plates displayed on the vehicle are permitted to park up to 4 hours in a metered parking space.

Other Useful Information

Police

How large is the Richmond Police Department?

There are about 750 sworn officers and about 170 civilians in the department. Sworn officers patrol the streets, investigate crimes and work with citizens to solve problems. Civilians serve in a variety of roles, such as forensics technicians, crime analysts and administrative support.

What is Crime Stoppers and how does it work?

Crime Stoppers is a program that involves police, media and citizens in the fight against crime. It was started in 1984 by a group of retailers, regional law enforcement officials and the Retail Merchants Association. Its service area is the City of Richmond and Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, New Kent and Charles City counties.

Citizens who call Crime Stoppers do not have to give their name or testify in court. Rewards are paid up to $1,000 with money donated to this nonprofit organization, which is run by a citizen board. To leave a tip for Crime Stoppers, please call 780-1000.

Do you have Neighborhood Watch programs?

Yes. Contact Community, Youth, and Intervention Services or your Precinct.

Do you have a Ride-Along program?

Yes. Citizens who do not have a criminal record and are 18 years of age or older may ride with an officer twice a year. To print an application, visit our Ride-Along Program page or call (804)646-4395.

How do I become a Richmond Police officer?

The first step is to submit a City of Richmond job application. To be hired, you must meet minimum requirements, pass an admissions test and successfully complete a background investigation.

My property was seized. How do I get it back?

First, the property must be released by the court. The property may be picked up at 501 N. Ninth St., Room G-48, at the following times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
  • Thursdays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

If the property hasn't been picked up in a reasonable amount of time, you will be notified by letter to pick it up. Property and Evidence can be reached at (804) 646-6727.

How do I become a Richmond Police volunteer?

First, you must complete either the Citizen Police Academy or the Senior Citizen Police Academy. "The Volunteers in Policing Program" is an extension of these two academies.

For more information on our Citizens' Academies, please contact the Community Care Unit.

How do I file a police report?

To file a police report, please call the Richmond Police non-emergency number at 646-5100 and press option 1 or visit your local precinct.

How do I take out a warrant?

After filing a police report, you should go to the Magistrate's Office located in Police Headquarters at 200 W. Grace St.

You will be asked to provide basic information about the individual, such as

  • full name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • police report number

Your photo ID is required.

The phone number to the Magistrate's Office is (804) 646-6689.

I have received calls soliciting funds for various groups, such as the Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Protection Fund. Are these legitimate?

The Richmond Police Department is not associated with any organization soliciting funds. It is at your discretion whether or not to make donations. To inquire about organizations soliciting funds, contact

  • Virginia State Police Association at (800) 342-6059
  • Virginia Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 552-9963

My car was towed. How do I get it back?

If your vehicle was towed from public property contact Seibert’s Towing at (804) 233-5757, if your vehicle was towed from private property, call (804) 646-5100 and press option 1.

How can I get a copy of a police report?

You will need to go to the Richmond Police Information Desk window 4 at Headquarters, 200 W. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23220. The fee is $5. The telephone number is (804) 646-6715.

I need to get a background check done. What do I do?

The Richmond Police Department only conducts local background checks.

You will need to go to the Police Information Desk at Headquarters, 200 W. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23220. You will need to bring two forms of identification with you, one of which must include a photo. The cost is $5.

If you require a statewide criminal history, you will need to contact the Virginia State Police at (804)674-2000.

I need to be fingerprinted. What do I do?

Fingerprinting is done from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, at the Richmond Police Department Information Desk window 4 at Headquarters, which is located at 200 W. Grace St., Richmond, VA 23220.

The customer must present ID and have their own fingerprint card(s), appointments are not necessary.

The cost is $5 per card and customers have the option to pay by cash, money order, certified check or a company check.

For additional questions contact the Central Records Unit at (804) 646-6715.

How do I get crime statistics for a neighborhood?

There are two types of information available.

The first is Incident Based Reports (reports taken by the officer) that can be accessed via the web at www.RichmondGov.com. Under Services click Police and then under Information click Crime Incident Info. There is a disclaimer; if you agree to these conditions, click agree and a request screen will appear.

The other form of information available is Calls For Service (all calls received that are 911 or non-emergency). This information can be obtained by contacting the Central Records Unit at (804) 646-6715.

How do I report a crime or suspicious incident?

If it is an emergency, call 911 if the incident is in progress. If it is a non-emergency, call (804)646-5100 and press option 1.

How do I invite a representative from the Police Department to attend our community meeting?

Officers are available to speak to groups at community meetings and schoolchildren for educational events. Please note that we require two weeks notice prior to your event.

Contact one of the following to schedule a speaker:

I got a parking ticket. What do I do?

See the City of Richmond's Parking Information

Procurement

How do I contact city departments and or buyers to introduce my company?

All sales visits will require an appointment during normal business hours.

May I receive or send a bid package by fax?

Only Informal bid responses under $50,000 may be submitted by fax.

Who originates the requirement for an Invitation to Bid or Request for Proposal?

Normally the using agency submits a requisition to Procurement Services for a specific requirement.

How are small purchases handled?

City agencies have been delegated authority for small purchases up to and including $5,000.

For purchases of $5,000 and under, a non-competitive decentralized Purchase Order (PD) is used.

For purchases over $5,000 and up to and including 49,999 three written quotes are required, with one quote being from a minority business.

Does the Purchasing Department buy for all City offices?

The Department of Procurement Services has the responsibility to purchase or lease all supplies, materials, equipment, and contractual services for the use of the City and its Agencies, as needed.

We do not procure services or commodities for Richmond City Schools.

Does the city give bid results over the telephone?

Check our Bids and Proposals website for bid results.

Is preferential treatment granted to emerging small businesses and/or minority business enterprises?

It is the policy of the City of Richmond to increase the number of minorities who participate meaningfully in all City contracts.

To this end, the City uses goals and encourages good faith efforts by all parties who engage in governmental contracting. We are strongly committed to the utilization of minority firms/individuals for all goods and services.

We provide all firms equal access to the procurement process, regardless of race or nationality.

The Office of Minority Business Development assists firms in doing business with us.

What project dollar amount requires a formal bid?

All goods, services, insurance and construction estimated to cost more than $50,000 will be subject to a formal bid or request for proposals.

Will the city send a bid package by overnight mail to a vendor?

Yes, but the Vendor must provide an account number to obtain this service.

When are non-renewable contracts rebid?

It is our normal practice to rebid about three months prior to the expiration of the current contract.

How long will my firm remain on the City's bidder mailing list?

If you are an active vendor, you will remain on the list.

Who is the purchasing agent for the city?

The Director of Procurement Services for the City of Richmond is the purchasing agent.

How does the city advertise solicitations?

Any solicitations over $50,000 are subject to the following advertising requirements:

How do I get information regarding previous contracts?

You may request information from Procurement Services through the Freedom of Information Act.

Public Utilities

What do I do if I want to request new services, transfer services, or disconnect services?

Call (804)646-7000 between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, to have your gas or water service turned on, transferred, or disconnected, preferably three to five days before service is needed. Be at the service location on the scheduled date and time for service installation.

If your street requires an additional streetlight, call (804)646-8500 for an application.

If you are building a new home or business or converting current appliances to natural gas, call (804)646-5250.

Step-by-step instructions for processing a gas installation.

What do I do if I want to report an emergency or problem?

Call the 24-hour emergency number (804)646-7000

  • To report strong, persistent gas odors (place the call away from the building where you smell the odor)
  • To report a major water leak in your home or in the street
  • If there is a sewer backup in your home or a broken sewer line in the street
  • If you see a streetlight that is broken or out, call (804)646-8555.

What do I do if I am hearing-impaired?

For customer account information, call (800)855-1155, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For gas, water, sewer or streetlight emergencies, also call (800)855-1155 at any time.

What do I do if I want to read my gas meter?

diagram of a Water Meter with clock faces

  1. The dials on the meter are marked in units of 10. The first and third dials are read counter-clockwise. The second and fourth dials are read clockwise (the direction shown by the arrows.)
  2. To check the reading on your meter, if the hand is between numbers, write down the lower number. Write down the readings on the other dials across the meter left to right, ending with the 1,000 dial.
  3. Gas is measured in units of hundred cubic feet or ccf. The dial above shows 7, 0, 6 and 3 or 7,063 ccf.
  4. Subtract this reading from the last one and the difference is how much gas was used since the last reading.

What do I do if I want my pilot light lit?

The Department of Public Utilities will light your gas furnace by appointment for a $35 service charge. To make an appointment, call (804)646-7000.

What do I do if I want to qualify for MetroCare?

The application period runs from Dec. 15 to April 30 each year. If your income falls below the Federal Poverty Guidelines, you are unemployed, or have a family crisis, you may apply at one of the following locations:

  • Richmond Community Action Program
    1021 Oliver Hill Way
    Phone Number: (804)788-0050
    Hours of Operation: 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • East District Family Resource Center
    2405 Jefferson Avenue
    Phone Number: (804)644-4496
    (appointments required)
  • Salvation Army Richmond Area Command
    2 W. Grace St.
    Phone Number: (804)225-7470
    Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The maximum amount of assistance is $500. For more information, call (804)646-7000.

What do I do if I am a senior citizen?

The Tax Relief for the Elderly and Disabled program is administered by the city's Finance Department. If you are eligible for this program, you will be exempt from solid waste and recycling fees on your utility bill.

For more information, call (804)646-5700 and press 3 or view the city of Richmond Tax Relief page.

The Department of Public Utilities offers several other programs specifically for seniors. For more information on the benefits listed below, call (804)646-7000.

  1. Winter Service Assurance - suspends shut-offs for nonpayment from December 1 through March 31.
  2. Accounts marked as being owned by seniors do not incur late fees.
  3. Most security deposits are waived.
  4. Third-Party Notification - allows a designated third party to receive a copy of your utility bill and to take inquiries in your behalf.
  5. The Senior Weatherization Kit Giveaway - provides an assortment of weatherization and energy-saving tools.

What do I do if I have standing water and want my storm drain cleaned?

Request city services online or call (804)646-7000.

What do I do if I have to connect to the city sewer system and stop using a septic system?

A plumbing contractor can assist you with the necessary permits and construction to do that. The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administers several programs that provide water and wastewater systems to low-income communities in Virginia; however, Richmond is not considered an eligible community as these programs are designed for rural areas. If you need financial assistance to afford a contractor, consult with your mortgage lender about an equity line loan for home improvements, or research charitable organizations that assist seniors and low-income families with home improvements.

What do I do if I want to learn more about natural gas products?

Call Energy Services at (804)646-5250 for more information about any of these products.

Natural gas furnaces deliver warmer heat than heat pumps and can save you up to 35 percent in fuel costs per year. They are quieter and cleaner. The two most common types of gas furnaces are forced air systems -- heated air is circulated through duct work in the home by a blower or fan - and hydronic systems - a gas boiler creates steam or hot water, which is circulated through the home through pipes or tubes.

Natural gas water heaters provide instant, economical hot water. A standard natural gas water heater can save up to 40 percent compared to an electric water heat and quickly replenishes your water supply. Tankless hot water heaters take up little space and heats up the water only when the faucet is turned on, saving you the expense of constantly maintaining a supply of hot water.

Natural gas clothes dryers can dry two loads for the price of one in an electric dryer. They run quieter and have a longer appliance life.

Gas fire logs provide warmth without the mess of bringing in wood or cleaning up ashes. Just turn on a switch and you have a virtually maintenance free fire with an authentic look.

Outdoor grills are easier and more convenient to use when they're connected to your natural gas main. You'll never need to refill heavy propane bottles again.

Natural gas lighting adds a classic look to your driveway and home, and the warm, soft light doesn't attract insects.

Natural gas pool and spa heaters can save up to 30 percent, heating your pool or hot tub several times faster than alternative water-heating systems.

Public Utilities -- Billing

Where do I mail my payments?

Mail payments to city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities, P.O. Box 26060, Richmond, VA 23274-0001.

You can also drop your payment envelope, unstamped, into the Utility Payment drop box at the following locations:

  • East End District Office, 701 N. 25th St.
  • Southside District, 4100 Hull Street Road
  • City Hall on 10th Street between Marshall and Broad streets
  • Some bank branches of Consolidated, SunTrust and Wachovia also accept payments.

Payments mailed or made at locations other than City Hall may take at least five days to post to your account. Payments made at locations other than City Hall must be paid in full.

If my utility service is off and I pay my bill, when can I get my service restored?

Normally service is restored the next day after your payment has posted. However, you may have the service turned back on the same day for an additional $35 if there is an opening in the schedule. Call (804)646-7000 to set up your service request.

Are there any heating assistance programs for those in need?

A fuel assistance program, Low Income Heating Energy Assistance, is administered by the Department of Social Services, (804)646-7046. Many organizations such as the United Way, Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, area churches, or Dominion Virginia Power's Energy Share program may have fuel assistance programs.

Can I enroll in the equal monthly payment plan if my account balance is not current?

No, your account must be current.

I'm a senior (or disabled) citizen. Are there any programs to help me reduce my utility bill?

The Tax Relief for the Elderly and Disabled program is administered by the city's Finance Department and if you are eligible for this program, you will be exempt from solid waste and recycling fees on your utility bill. For more information, call (804)646-5700 and press 3.

Public Utilities -- Combined Sewer Overflow

What is a Combined Sewer Overflow?

Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) is a discharge of untreated storm and wastewater from a combined sewer into the environment. CSOs typically occur when combined sewers fill up with too much water for the system to handle, most often during heavy rains, and the excess water is released into a stream or river.

What is a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO)?

Like many older cities throughout the Eastern U.S., Richmond's sewer pipes carry a combination of sewage from homes and businesses and rainwater runoff to the city's Wastewater Treatment Plant. That works just fine in dry weather, but when heavy rains come, to keep the sudden onslaught of water and sewage from backing up into homes, it is necessary to release some of the combined sewage into local waterways. This release is called a Combined Sewer Overflow, or CSO.

Is the city of Richmond, Va, the only city that has CSOs?

No. More than 950 of the nation's older Northeast, Great Lakes and mid-Atlantic cities have CSOs.

Why does this happen?

Before indoor plumbing and wastewater treatment, cities built sewer systems to carry stormwater away from homes, businesses and streets. As the population grew and modern bathrooms came into existence, plumbing was hooked into the these existing storm sewers, making them "combined" sanitary and stormwater sewers. Even today, during dry weather, the combined sewer pipes are no problem. They carry water to the city's wastewater treatment plant to be treated and released into the James River. However, during heavy rains, the volume of water is too great for Richmond's interceptor system and treatment plant to process, and the combined system overflows by design into rivers and creeks.

Since CSOs only happen during heavy rains, are they really a serious issue?

Yes. Because CSOs carry raw sewage with the stormwater, disease-causing organisms and other pollutants can enter into our area waters.

Has Richmond warned area residents about these health hazards?

Yes. Richmond has posted signs at every outfall, alerting people to the presence of CSOs and warning against swimming during and after rain events. A contact phone number is provided for additional information

Why can't we just separate the sanitary sewage from the stormwater run-off?

We might be able to, but the cost to channel the two types of flow into separate pipes would be enormous. As you can imagine, we would need to excavate much of the city streets to duplicate the piping, and this still would not solve the problem of chemicals and other debris that enter our waterways in stormwater

If we separate the sanitary sewage and stormwater, and catch debris from stormwater run-off, would that make our waterways safer and cleaner?

Not completely. Our water will still be polluted from stormwater sources upstream. That is why it's important that this be recognized as a regional watershed issue that will require regional cooperation

What about the cost? Who pays?

The city of Richmond's CSO system is financed through three sources: State and Federal grants, state low-interest loans and rate payers.

What are EPA's Nine Minimum Controls?

Richmond has already implemented the Nine Minimum Controls required by EPA; they are:

  1. Proper operation and regular maintenance programs for the sewer system and the CSOs.
  2. Maximum use of the collection system for storage.
  3. Review and modification of pre-treatment requirements to ensure CSO impacts are minimized.
  4. Maximization of flow to the city's wastewater plant for treatment.
  5. Prohibition of CSOs during dry weather.
  6. Control of solid and floatable materials in CSOs.
  7. Pollution prevention.
  8. Public notification to ensure that the public receives adequate notification of CSO occurrences and CSO impacts.
  9. Monitoring to effectively characterize CSO impacts and the efficacy of CSO.

Public Utilities -- Stormwater

Why do I have a charge for stormwater on my utility bill?

In response to customer feedback and suggestions as well as City Council approval, the annual bill for the stormwater utility for residential and non-residential properties. (commercial, industrial, non-profit, multi-family, schools and college properties will be broken down in 12 equal installments) This monthly incremental amount will appear on the regular monthly utility bill for LOCAL property owners, beginning with the utility bill generated on August 5, 2013, and each monthly bill. The charge will appear after wastewater charges and before charges for any other City services such as solid waste and recycling in the bill section which details current monthly charges. It will appear as a line item saying "Stormwater charge". The amount will be in the right column of the monthly detail section. Property owners who bill on August 1 and 2 will see their first stormwater charge on their September 2013 bill. This amount will be prorated for two months of stormwater service.

I own property in Richmond, but I do not receive a monthly utility bill. How will I be billed for my stormwater bill?

Your utility bill payments are applied in the following order: stormwater, wastewater, water, and natural gas. Failure to pay or make payment arrangements for the entire amount of your utility bill can result in delinquency, late fees and eventually service disconnection.

Since my stormwater fee is now on my utility bill, can my utility services be shut off if I do not pay my stormwater fee?

Yes. You can designate your payment at any time to go specifically to the Stormwater utility fee. If you decide to make one annual lump sum stormwater payment, you need to either make your payment in-person in Room 102 at City Hall and tell the cashier what you want to do, or you need to contact DPU at (804)646-7000 once your lump sum payment appears on your utility service bill. DPU can then designate the payment as a stormwater only payment.

Am I able to pay my stormwater fee all at once and get it out of the way?

Property owners who do not receive a monthly utility bill will receive a quarterly utility service bill for stormwater only service. The first bill will be received in September 2013 for the period of stormwater service from July 2013 through September 2013. The second bill will be received in December 2013 for the period of stormwater service from October 2013 through December 2013, and so on.

Can I direct my payment to a specific utility?

Yes. DPU currently receives payments in this manner. When paying in person, you may designate which utility you would like your payment to be posted to.

My stormwater bill seems higher, why?

DPU currently utilizes updated aerial photography which is able to capture more impervious area features than you may have previously been charged for - For example, driveways, building additions, patios, etc. If your impervious area increased, the increase may have put you into a higher stormwater class, or increased the number of your Equivalent Residential Units (ERU).

What is the timeframe that the city uses to bill for Stormwater utility fees?

DPU bills for stormwater on an annual basis in accordance with our fiscal calendar which runs from July to June.

Will the stormwater charge being added to my monthly utility bill affect my payment arrangement?

All payment arrangements are for your current bill amount plus the payment arrangement amount. Your payment arrangement will not be impacted by the addition of your stormwater charge on your utility bill; however, you must be sure to pay all the current charges, which include your monthly stormwater charge, to avoid cancellation of your payment arrangement.

What does the stormwater utility fee pay for?

The fee provides funding to implement new programs for preventive maintenance, repair, and improvements to the city's storm drain system. With these programs, entire storm drain systems in large areas of the city are cleaned on a periodic basis before serious problems occur. Funding from the Stormwater Utility allows for improvements that directly target local flooding problems.

What is stormwater runoff?

Stormwater runoff is the portion of rain and melting snow that does not soak into the ground. It runs off driveways, parking lots, roads, and other impervious surfaces that do not allow the water to soak through to the ground below.

What is an impervious surface?

Impervious surfaces are areas that have been paved or otherwise covered with material that is resistant to penetration by water. These surfaces do not allow rainwater to soak into the ground. Impervious surfaces are mainly constructed surfaces like, rooftops, sidewalks, roads, and parking lots, and are usually covered by impenetrable materials such as asphalt, concrete, brick, and stone.

The impervious surface is NOT equal to the inside square footage of a structure.

What causes stormwater runoff?

The continued urban growth within the city has increased the amount of impervious area. As a result when it rains, there is an increase in the amount of water runoff that picks up pollutants as it goes and makes its way into the city's drain system and eventually into the James River. This additional runoff can cause flooding, threats to public safety, and pollutants to enter receiving waters, like the James River.

What are the environmental benefits of creating a stormwater utility?

  • Improvement of water quality by reducing non-point source pollution. (NPS)
  • Prevention of stream bank erosion.
  • Healthier habitats for the James River and associated tributaries.
  • Cleaner waterfront and park areas.
  • Reduces chance of sewer back-ups.
  • Reduces threat of West Nile Virus.

Do other cities have stormwater utilities?

Yes, there are approximately 400 stormwater utilities nationwide and several in Virginia, including the cities of Portsmouth, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Chesapeake, and Newport News. The municipalities that adopted stormwater utilities selected this approach because it is both fair and equitable.

Who pays the Stormwater Utility fee?

All developed properties are charged a stormwater fee. Properties paying the fee will include residential properties, commercial and industrial properties, non-profit organizations, schools, colleges/universities, state and federal owned properties and parking lots*.

*Commercial, industrial, non-profits, schools, colleges/universities, state and federal owned properties and parking lots that have infrastructure or facilities set up to control the quality and quantity of stormwater run-off from their property may apply for a full or partial credit, up to 50% of their stormwater fee.

Do tax exempt properties have to pay?

Yes, because it is a fee, not a property tax. Property taxes are based on the assessed value of the property. The Stormwater Utility Fee is based on the amount of impervious surface area a property has.

Are there any properties that are excluded from this fee?

Yes, these include: undeveloped properties, public streets and roadways, cemeteries and city of Richmond owned properties*.

*Richmond Public Schools and properties owned by Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority (RRHA) are not owned by the City of Richmond and are therefore required to pay the stormwater utility fee.

Do I have to pay for any unoccupied developed properties that I own?

Yes, because that property contains impervious area.

Why do I have to pay when I do not have any drainage problems?

Everyone in the City benefits from the Stormwater maintenance program. If stormwater runs off your property, the City must have a program and funding to manage the increase in runoff and pollutants.

Direct benefits include protecting your property from upstream runoff, protecting properties downstream from your runoff, and improving water quality in the James River.

How is the fee calculated and how much do I have to pay?

Richmond has a three-tiered rate structure for single family residential (SFR) parcels based on the amount of impervious surface area that a parcel contains.

The minimum fee for all property classes is $25 per year or $2.083 per month.

Monthly Billing for Stormwater Customers
Residential (billed each month at 1/12 of annual fee)
Rates per Single Family Residential (SFR) parcel Monthly Fee
SFR parcels less than or equal to 1,000 sq. ft $2.083 per month ($25/year)
SFR parcels between 1,001 - 2,399 sq. ft. $3.75 per month ($45/year)
SFR parcels greater than 2,400 sq. ft. $5.833 per month ($70/year)
Non-Residential (billed each month at 1/12 of annual fee)
Rates per Equivalent Residential Unit* (ERU)
*Equivalent Residential Unit = 1,425 sq. ft
Annual Fee
(Each ERU is billed at $45)
Multi-family $3.75 (monthly ERU)
$45 (annual ERU)
Non-Residential**
Includes but is not limited to commercial, residential, non-profits, churches, schools, colleges/universities
$3.75 (monthly ERU)
$45 (annual ERU)

EXAMPLE: The monthly stormwater utility charges for a Non-Residential property with 14,250 sq. feet of impervious area would be $37.50. See the following calculation: 14,250 sq. feet/1,425 sq. feet = 10 ERU's, 10 ERUs x $45 = $450 (annual), $450/12 = $37.50 per month

Quarterly Billing for Stormwater Customers
Residential (billed on a quarterly basis - 4 times per year)
Rates per Single Family Residential (SFR) parcel Monthly Fee
SFR parcels less than or equal to 1,000 sq. ft $6.25 per quarter ($25/year)
SFR parcels between 1,001 - 2,399 sq. ft. $11.25 per quarter ($45/year)
SFR parcels greater than 2,400 sq. ft. $17.50 per quarter ($70/year)
Non-Residential (billed on a quarterly basis - 4 times per year)
Rates per Equivalent Residential Unit* (ERU)
*Equivalent Residential Unit = 1,425 sq. ft
Annual Fee
(Each ERU is billed at $45)
Multi-family and Non-Residential Categories $11.25 (quarterly ERU)
$45 (annual ERU)

EXAMPLE: The quarterly stormwater utility charges for a Non-Residential property with 14,250 sq. feet of impervious area would be $37.50. See the following calculation: 14,250 sq. feet/1,425 sq. feet = 10 ERU's, 10 ERUs x $45 = $450 (annual), $450/4 = $112.50 per quarter

How was the Equivalent Residential Unit determined for Richmond, VA?

The city of Richmond's ERU was derived using property data from the city Assessor's Office and impervious area calculations from the city's Geographic Information System (GIS). The ERU is the average impervious surface area for all single family residential units within the city of Richmond. This calculation for the city of Richmond is 1,425 square feet.

Are residential properties eligible for credits on their stormwater bill?

Yes. Residential properties may apply for partial credits up to a maximum allowable credit of 50% by implementing LID (Low Impact Development) techniques on their property. Examples of these techniques include rain barrels, rain gardens, and vegetative filter strips. Residential stormwater credits once approved are renewed every three years. Click here for additional information about residential stormwater credits, including application and renewal forms.

Are residential properties eligible for credits or reductions based on income?

No. The city only offers credits to residential property owners as outlined in the response above.

Are non-residential properties eligible for credits?

Yes. Non-residential properties may apply for partial credits up to a maximum allowable credit of 50% by implementing LID (Low Impact Development) techniques on their property. Examples of these techniques include permeable pavers, rain gardens, and green roofs. Click here for additional information about non-residential stormwater credits, including application and renewal forms.

Why do I pay a stormwater utility fee when I don't have ditches or drain inlets on or near my property?

The water that leaves your property (runoff), either from irrigation or rainfall, ultimately drains into a city maintained drainage facility. You are assessed a fee because this runoff contributes to the ever present need for maintenance.

Does the stormwater utility maintain ditches that cross private property?

No. The responsibility for maintaining the ditch, pipe or channel falls on the property owner. Stormwater Utility crews can only maintain ditches or other drainage facilities on private property if the facility is within the drainage easement granted to the City and if the facility carries runoff from upstream property. Without an easement, the responsibility for maintaining the ditch, pipe or channel falls on the property owner. For more information about easements call DPU's Customer Care Center at (804)644-3000.

When are storm drains cleaned?

The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Stormwater Utility will regularly clean and clear the storm drain system by following a bi-yearly cleaning schedule, for over 178 miles of city maintained drainage pipes. Some major pipes will be cleaned monthly. The Stormwater Utility welcomes calls from the public notifying us of problem storm drains and encourages residents to help by keeping storm drains near their homes and businesses clear of debris.

How did the City obtain information about my property in order for stormwater classification?

The information was obtained from the City's Geographic Information System base maps and information provided by the City's Assessor's office, and verified using aerial photos.

What if I do not agree with the Stormwater Notice that I receive from the City?

Customers who do not agree with the amount of the stormwater charge they receive should contact DPU's Customer Care Center at 646-7000. DPU's customer service representatives can answer your stormwater questions. If after contacting the Customer Care Center and you still feel your Stormwater Notice is incorrect, you may provide a written request for an administrative hearing with the Director, or his designee. Your request should detail any information which supports your position about property ownership, the amount of impervious surface area on your property, or your stormwater class.

Public Works -- Transportation

I need to temporarily work in the city streets.  What approval is needed?

You will need to apply for a work-in-street permit.  Applications are available in Room 110 of City Hall from the
Planning and Develpment Review Department.  Phone: (804)646-4169.  Bring a drawing of the improvements with the application.  Fees for the permits range from $20 to $100.  Right of way management.

How can I get a loading zone established or removed?

Call (804)646-0999 and ask.   We will need the location and information about the nature of the businesses in the area.   We will review the location in the field and make a recommendation that will benefit the area.

The parking meters are broken.  Who do I call?

Call 3-1-1 to report such problems.  Please have the street address if possible so we can find it quickly.

I need a hauling or moving permit.  How do I apply for one?

The Division handles the hauling permits. Call (804)646-3840 [ Fax: (804)646-6629 ] for information.
An application for hauling permit form  (click on for link) can be printed and sent with your payment of
$25 to the following address:

      Department of Public Works
      900 E. Broad Street, Room 701
      Richmond, VA 23219
     Map It


Restricted Structures in the City of Richmond? (link):  Map & List

I would like to close a street to hold a special event.  What do I need to do?

The Richmond Police Department handles the street closing requests.
Call (804)646-1343 for more information.



The following links are also available for your information:

Retirement

Active Employees FAQ

Retiree FAQ


Active Employees FAQ

When can I retire?

General Employees are eligible to retire at age 55 with five years of creditable service (reduced benefits) or at any age with 30 years of service (unreduced benefits). The normal retirement age is 65.

Sworn Firefighters and Police Officers are eligible to retire at age 50 with five years of creditable service (reduced benefits), at any age with 25 years of service under the Defined Benefit Plan (unreduced benefits) or at any age with 20 years of service under the Enhanced Defined Benefit Plan (unreduced benefits). The normal retirement age is 60.

How soon before my retirement date can I apply for retirement?

You may file your retirement application no more than 90 days prior to your effective date of retirement.

You should request a tentative benefit calculation from the Retirement Office at least four months before you plan to file your retirement application.

Eligible members may apply for retirement no more than 90 days and no less than 60 days from the first day of the month in which they are retiring.

For example: A member that wants to retire on January 1, 2012 will need to apply for retirement in the month of October 2011.

Any applications that do not meet the policy will be returned to the member informing them to resubmit their retirement application for the next eligible date.

Members must request in writing for an exception under one of the following reasons:

  1. Personal Health
  2. Health of a loved one (becoming a caregiver)
  3. Offered employment outside of the City of Richmond
  4. Disciplinary action

The member will receive notification from the RRS in cases were an exception is granted.

Note: Cases granted exception will receive their first pension check 60 to 90 days from the date of their retirement.

What will be the amount of my monthly pension?

Each person's retirement benefit is calculated on an individual basis. The amount of your monthly pension will depend on the following factors:

  1. Average Final Compensation. This is the average of your three highest annual salaries for 36 consecutive months
  2. Creditable Service. This is comprised of your total years of service as a full-time, permanent city of Richmond employee, but excluding any separate periods of employment with the city less than nine months. Creditable service will also include 50% of your unused sick leave hours at retirement.

    Example: 1,040 hours x .50 divided by 2,080 (annual work hours) = .25 years of service (3 months)

  3. Age. Your age at the time of retirement

What types of retirement are offered?

Service Retirement

General employees are eligible to retire at age 65, with or without five years of service.

Police officers and firefighters are eligible at age 60, with or without five years of service.

Early Retirement

General employees are eligible for unreduced benefits with 30 years of service, regardless of age, and eligible for reduced benefits at age 55 with at least five years of service, but less than 30 years of service.

Sworn police officers and firefighters are eligible for unreduced benefits with 25 years of service, regardless of age, and are eligible for reduced benefits at age 50 with at least five years of service, but less than 25 years of service.

Deferred Retirement

An employee or former employee is eligible for deferred retirement if they terminated city employment with at least five years of creditable service.The early service reduction factor is based solely on age.

General employees or former general employees are eligible for unreduced benefits payable at age 65 or reduced benefits payable at age 55.

Sworn police officers and firefighters are eligible eligible for unreduced benefits payable at age 60 or reduced benefit payable at age 50.

Compensable (Work-related) Disability Retirement

No employee or former employee can apply for disability retirement after reaching normal retirement age.

All employees are eligible for compensable retirement regardless of number of years of creditable service and age.

The disability must be compensable under the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act.

For sworn firefighters, the disability must be caused by respiratory disease, heart disease or hypertension.

For police officers, the disability must be caused by hypertension or heart disease.

Richmond Retirement System medical examiners must certify that you are completely and permanently incapacitated from performing any duties with the city. However, if the medical examiner certifies that you can perform duties in another capacity, then your case will be referred to the Chief Administrative Officer for alternative job placement.

Refusal of an offer of an alternative position with the city will make the member ineligible to receive disability retirement benefits under this provision. If no job placement is made within one year, your case will be reconsidered by the Board.

Ordinary (Non-Work Related) Disability Retirement

An employee cannot apply for ordinary disability retirement after reaching normal retirement age.

All employees are eligible for ordinary disability retirement with five years of creditable service, regardless of age, provided they are in active service.

Richmond Retirement System medical examiners must certify that you are completely and permanently incapacitated from performing any duties with the city before approval of your retirement.

What types of benefit options are offered?

Basic Benefit

Basic Benefit pays a monthly pension for the lifetime of the retiree. The amount remains the same before and after age 65 for general employees. The monthly pension for firefighters and police officers includes a pre-65 supplement.There is no monthly survivor allowance after retiree's death.

Smooth-Out Option

This option pays a higher monthly pension than the basic benefit before age 65 and a lower amount after age 65, taking into account Social Security benefits. There is no monthly survivor allowance after retiree's death. This option is not available for service retirements.

Level Benefit - Sworn Firefighters and Police Officers only

Level Benefit pays a lower monthly pension than the Basic Benefit before age 65, however it is higher than the Basic Benefit after age 65. The benefit amount remains the same before and after age 65. There is no monthly survivor allowance after retiree's death.

Joint and Survivor Option

This option pays a reduced monthly pension for the lifetime of the retiree. A specific percentage (25%, 50%, 75% or 100%) of the monthly pension will be paid to the designated survivor after retiree's death.

Pop-Up Joint and Survivor Option

This option pays a reduced monthly pension for the lifetime of the retiree. A specific percentage (25%, 50%, 75% or 100%) of the retirement benefit will be paid to the designated survivor after retiree's death. The benefit reverts to the basic benefit amount if the survivor precedes retiree in death.

Can anyone receive my retirement benefit in the event of my death as a retiree?

Yes, if you elect either the Joint and Survivor Option or the Pop-Up Joint and Survivor Option at retirement, in accordance with Section 78-282 of the City Code. The designated survivor does not have to be a spouse or relative.

However, once your retirement is effective, the designated survivor cannot be changed. A surviving spouse of a disability retiree may be eligible for a monthly survivor benefit under other provisions of the City Code.

Does my spouse or beneficiary receive my retirement benefit in the event of my death as an active employee?

If you are eligible for early service retirement at the time of your death as an active employee, your surviving spouse will receive a monthly survivor allowance for life. This benefit is not paid to any other survivor. In addition, if you die while in service within three years of being eligible for early service retirement based upon years of service, your surviving spouse may purchase service credit up to a maximum of three years to attain your retirement eligibility and receive a monthly allowance in accordance with Section 78-314 of the City Code. Also, if you are a member of the system employed before June 13, 1988, your beneficiary will receive a one-time, lump-sum payment of $1,000.00.

Does my spouse or minor child(ren) receive my retirement benefit in the event of my job-related death as an active employee?

If a member dies in service at any time before retirement from a cause compensable under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act, the surviving spouse shall receive a 100% survivor’s allowance monthly for life (except for remarriage) commencing on the first day of the month following the member’s death. The survivor’s allowance will be computed as if the member remained in service and retired upon reaching age 65. However, the three-year average final compensation will be the same as the member’s at the time of his or her death. Any compensation awarded under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act will be deducted from the survivor’s allowance.

If a member leaves no spouse or the spouse dies or remarries before the youngest child of the deceased member has reached age 18, then the child(ren) will be paid the survivor’s allowance until the child’s or child(ren) death or until the child(ren) reaches age 18, whichever occurs first. Any compensation awarded under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act will be deducted from the survivor’s allowance.

If I divorce, will my former spouse be eligible to receive a percentage of my retirement benefit?

Pursuant to Section 78-6 of the City Code, the Richmond Retirement System will only honor domestic relations orders assigning retirement benefits to a former spouse that were accepted and approved by the System prior to June 10, 2002.

Are my retirement benefits subject to garnishment?

Retirement benefits are not subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment or any other collection process and cannot be enforced by court order. However, benefits are subject to IRS levies and child support payments.

What deductions will be taken from my monthly pension?

  • Federal and state income taxes
  • Health and dental insurance premiums, if eligible and you elect to maintain your coverage through the city's plans
  • Alimony and child support payments, if court ordered

Will I be covered under the city's health insurance program after I retire?

If you have been enrolled in the cty's health insurance program continuously for five years before retirement and have at least 10 years of creditable service, you are eligible to maintain coverage at the retiree rate until you become Medicare eligible. Dental insurance also continues after retirement at the retiree rate. If you elect to maintain coverage through the city, premiums will be deducted from your retirement benefit.

Will I receive cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) with my pension?

COLA may be granted at the discretion of City Council during the annual budget process for the city of Richmond. The practice has been that a COLA are granted July 1 for persons retired prior to July 1 of the previous year.

Is direct deposit available for my pension?

Retirees are required to elect direct deposit to receive their monthly pension. However, your first monthly pension will be in the form of a check and will be mailed. Pensions are issued on the last working day of each month.

If I receive my pension via direct deposit, can I change my bank account?

Yes. Members currently enrolled in direct deposit, that wish to change banks or bank accounts will need to complete a new Direct Deposit Authorization Form. Forms received by the Richmond Retirement System office prior to the 15th of the month will be processed for the following month's benefit payment.

For example, if you were to complete and submit a direct deposit form to the Richmond Retirement System on or before June 15, the change will become effective with the July pension payment. You will receive a check in the mail for the June benefit payment. A pre-note deposit of zero dollars will be made to your account for June so that we can verify your account information.

Completed Direct Deposit Authorization forms received after the 15th of the month will be processed during the following month for payment.

For example, if you were to complete and submit a direct deposit form to the Richmond Retirement System after June 15, the change will become effective with the August pension payment. You will receive a check in the mail for the July benefit payment. A pre-note deposit of zero dollars will be made to your account for July so that we can verify your account information.

What if I should close my bank account prematurely and do not submit a completed Direct Deposit Authorization Form to the Richmond Retirement System before the 15th of the month?

We will immediately notify you of a rejected payment by your former bank account and request a new Direct Deposit Authorization Form. Once we receive the updated Direct Deposit Authorization Form, we will process it for payment accordingly.

How long does it take to receive a replacement check if it is lost or stolen?

Replacing a monthly pension payment replacement with a check will normally take from 10 to 20 days to process, depending on the period of the month of notification of it being lost or stolen. You can avoid this delay by ensuring you sign up for the Direct Deposit Program. Only then can you assure yourself that your pension will remain safe and deposited on the end of the month payment schedule.

Will I still receive a retirement benefit if I leave the city before retirement age?

Yes, if you are vested in the Richmond Retirement System. Members become vested after completion of five years of creditable service with the city of Richmond. Once vested, benefits are not forfeited, even if termination of employment (voluntary or involuntary) occurs before eligibility for retirement.

You may apply for a deferred retirement allowance at age 55 (for former general employees) or age 50 (for former police officers or firefighters). You may also wait until your normal retirement age (65 for former general members; 60 for former firefighters and police officers) to apply for your unreduced deferred service retirement benefit.

What happens if I decide to return to work after retiring?

There are no restrictions regarding working part time or full time in a seasonal, temporary or contractual position, which does not entitle you to become an active member again of the Richmond Retirement System.

General Employees

If you are rehired in a full-time, permanent position with the city of Richmond, your monthly benefit will cease.

If you are rehired as a general employee in a full-time, permanent position with the city of Richmond, you will become a member in the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan. The city will make contributions into your individual account based upon your total years of creditable service. The time served in the Defined Contribution Plan will not count towards creditable service in the Defined Benefit Plan. When you terminate city employment again your Defined Benefit Plan retirement benefit will be reinstated at the same level as it was before you re-entered city employment, and you will have access to the funds in your Defined Contribution Plan account.

Sworn Police Officers/Firefighters

If you are rehired as a sworn police officer/firefighter in full-time, permanent position with the City of Richmond, you must elect a retirement plan within 90 days of your re-employment date. If you elect the Defined Benefit or Enhanced Defined Benefit plans (members older than age 40 are not eligible to elect the Enhanced Defined Benefit Plan as it offers no additional benefit), your period of creditable service will be reestablished. When you retire again, your benefit will be recomputed based on the payment option elected during your previous retirement, your total years of creditable service and average final compensation before and after the previous retirement. You will not receive creditable service for the period during which you were retired.

If you elect the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan, the City will make contributions into your individual account based upon your total years of creditable service. The time served in the Defined Contribution Plan will not count towards creditable service in the Defined Benefit Plan. When you terminate City employment again, your Defined Benefit Plan retirement benefit will be reinstated at the same level as it was before you re-entered city employment, and you will have access to the funds in your Defined Contribution Plan account.

If you accept a position with any public or private entity other than the city of Richmond, your monthly benefit will not be affected.

Will I still have life insurance through the city after I retire?

Group life insurance coverage will continue after your retirement at no cost to you. However, after you retire, the life insurance will reduce by 25% of the original value on Jan. 1 of the first full year after retirement and each January thereafter until it reaches 25% of its original value at retirement.

This reduction does not begin until age 65 for members with a disability retirement.

Please note that accidental death and dismemberment coverage ends at retirement. If you die as a result of any effect other than natural causes, your beneficiary will not receive payment through the city's life insurance plan.

Will I receive Social Security benefits in addition to my Richmond Retirement System benefit?

Yes. These are two separate benefits. Most retirees are eligible to receive full Social Security benefits at age 65 and reduced benefits as early as age 62. Please see the chart below to determine when you will be eligible to receive full Social Security benefits:

Age To Receive Full Social Security Benefits
Year of BirthFull Retirement Age
1937 or earlier65
193865 and 2 months
193965 and 4 months
194065 and 6 months
194165 and 8 months
194265 and 10 months
1943 - 195466
195566 and 2 months
195666 and 4 months
195766 and 6 months
195866 and 8 months
195966 and 10 months
1960 or later67

Retirees FAQ

When will I receive my pension?

Your monthly pension will be disbursed on the last working day of the month.

What determines the amount of my health insurance premium?

Your monthly premium for health insurance depends on the number of years of creditable service and the type of coverage you elect. See Health Insurance Rate table.

Are health/dental insurance premiums deducted from the check?

Yes, health/dental insurance premium will be deducted from your monthly pension check.

What if my pension is not enough to pay my health/dental premiums?

In the event that your pension is not enough to cover the cost of your premiums, your pension will be credited toward your health/dental insurance and you will be required to submit the balance. You will receive a monthly invoice and must pay for your coverage by personal check or money order.

Payments with or without an invoice must be received in the Retirement Office by the 15th of each month. Your check or money order should be payable to "City of Richmond".

Failure to make payment by the specified date will result in the cancellation of your insurance coverage with the city. If your insurance is cancelled, you will not be allowed to re-enroll.

Why didn't I receive a payment coupon?

You will only receive a payment coupon if a payment is currently due. Premium payments are due by the 15th of the each month. If you pay ahead of time and have already paid for the current month, a payment coupon will not be generated.

Are my insurance premiums prepaid?

Your health insurance premium is not prepaid. The deduction at the end of the month is for that month's coverage. Dental premiums are prepaid.

What happens if I or my dependent becomes Medicare-eligible?

The city no longer offers a supplemental policy for medicare-eligible retirees. Therefore, once you or your dependent becomes medicare-eligible, the coverage will end and you will need to obtain a private supplemental Medicare plan.

What happens if I decide to return to work after retiring?

There are no restrictions regarding working part time or full time in a seasonal, temporary or contractual position, which does not entitle you to become an active member again of the Richmond Retirement System.

General Employees

If you are rehired in a full-time, permanent position with the city of Richmond, your monthly benefit will cease.

If you are rehired as a general employee in a full-time, permanent position with the city of Richmond, you will become a member in the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan. The city will make contributions into your individual account based upon your total years of creditable service. The time served in the Defined Contribution Plan will not count towards creditable service in the Defined Benefit Plan. When you terminate city employment again your Defined Benefit Plan retirement benefit will be reinstated at the same level as it was before you re-entered city employment, and you will have access to the funds in your Defined Contribution Plan account.

Sworn Police Officers/Firefighters

If you are rehired as a sworn police officer/firefighter in full-time, permanent position with the City of Richmond, you must elect a retirement plan within 90 days of your re-employment date. If you elect the Defined Benefit or Enhanced Defined Benefit plans (members older than age 40 are not eligible to elect the Enhanced Defined Benefit Plan as it offers no additional benefit), your period of creditable service will be reestablished. When you retire again, your benefit will be recomputed based on the payment option elected during your previous retirement, your total years of creditable service and average final compensation before and after the previous retirement. You will not receive creditable service for the period during which you were retired.

If you elect the 401(a) Defined Contribution Plan, the City will make contributions into your individual account based upon your total years of creditable service. The time served in the Defined Contribution Plan will not count towards creditable service in the Defined Benefit Plan. When you terminate City employment again, your Defined Benefit Plan retirement benefit will be reinstated at the same level as it was before you re-entered city employment, and you will have access to the funds in your Defined Contribution Plan account.

If you accept a position with any public or private entity other than the city of Richmond, your monthly benefit will not be affected.

What do I need to do to change the direct deposit from one bank to another?

Complete a new Direct Deposit Authorization Form and submit it with a voided check to our office. Deposit slips often times have different routing numbers for checking accounts.

Today is the last day of the month and I did not receive my pension check, why?

Retirement checks are mailed on the last business day of the month. If you enroll in direct deposit, your funds will be available on the pension pay date.

If I receive my pension via direct deposit, can I change my bank account?

Yes, members currently enrolled in direct deposit, that wish to change banks or bank accounts will need to complete a new Direct Deposit Authorization form. Forms received by the Richmond Retirement System office prior to the 15th of the month will be processed for the following month's benefit payment.

For example: If you were to complete and submit a direct deposit form to the Richmond Retirement System on or before June 15, the change will become effective with the July pension payment. You will receive a check in the mail for the June benefit payment. A pre-note deposit of zero dollars will be made to your account for June so that we can verify your account information.

Completed Direct Deposit Authorization forms received after the 15th of the month will be processed during the following month for payment.

For example: If you were to complete and submit a direct deposit form to the Richmond Retirement System after June 15, the change will become effective with the August pension payment. You will receive a check in the mail for the July benefit payment. A pre-note deposit of zero dollars will be made to your account for July so that we can verify your account information.

What if I should close my bank account prematurely and do not submit a completed Direct Deposit Authorization Form to the Richmond Retirement System before the 15th of the month?

We will immediately notify you of a rejected payment by your former bank account and request a new Direct Deposit Authorization Form. Once we receive the updated Direct Deposit Authorization Form, we will process it for payment accordingly.

How long does it take to receive a replacement check if it is lost or stolen?

Monthly pension payment replacement via a check will normally take from 10 to 20 days to replace depending on the period of the month of notification of it being lost or stolen. You can avoid this delay by ensuring you sign up for the Direct Deposit Program. Only then can you assure yourself that your pension will remain safe and deposited on the end of the month payment schedule.

Will I receive a direct deposit stub each month?

You will only receive a stub when there is a change in your pension information, such as pension amount, taxes, address, etc. This stub will reflect the most current information. You will also receive a stub at the end of the year.

Can I use my December check stub to prepare my taxes?

No. You should wait until you receive your Form 1099-R before preparing your tax return.

When will I receive my Form 1099-R?

The IRS requires that Form 1099-Rs be postmarked by January 31st of each year.

What do I need to do to change my beneficiary with RRS?

You should complete the Beneficiary Change form and return it to the Retirement Office. The signature on this form must be notarized. Benefits will be paid based on the form that is on file in the Retirement Office at the time of the member's death.

Why did the amount of my Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) change?

Your COLA is calculated as a percentage of your pension. Therefore, your COLA will change anytime your pension amount changes. See the COLA calculation.

What qualifications must I meet in order to continue my health insurance coverage for myself or dependent(s) once I retire?

You and your dependent(s) may continue health insurance coverage with the city at the retiree rate provided that you meet the following two conditions.

  1. You must have been enrolled continuously in a city health plan for five years prior to retirement.
  2. You have at least 10 years of creditable service at the time of retirement.

Richmond Supply Schedule

May we still use blanket purchase orders?

No. Blanket purchase orders can no longer be used for office supply contracts under the Richmond Supply Schedule.

Until further notice, blanket purchase orders may be used under the Industrial Supplies and Paper & Paper Related Products contracts for a limited amount.

What information should we provide on the purchase order (PG)?

When submitting your purchase orders (PG) into the system, please be as descriptive as possible as to what you are ordering. It is important that the contractor know what he is delivering on the order. Also, it is important for Procurement Services to know what is on your purchase order (PG) for auditing purposes.

Where can I find the Fax Back Quote Form?

Download the Fax Back Quote Form.

Is the Fax Back Quote Form a requirement?

No. The Fax Back Quote Form is not a requirement. Please use the form that you have created or the Fax Back Quote Form for your file documentation.

Do I have to fax the Fax Back Quote Form to three contractors for each purchase?

No. There are three documentation methods that you may follow:

  1. Fax the Fax Back Quote Form to three contractors requesting pricing. We suggest this method when you have numerous items that you wish to procure.
  2. Obtain the pricing from three contractors electronically from the city's Supply Schedule Contracts website.
  3. Compare pricing with three contractors' catalogs. Please be sure to keep documentation with your purchase order (PG) copy. It is suggested to write down the PG# on your documentation for reference purposes. Please attach your documentation to your pink copy once it is received.

What should I do if I am audited?

Please make sure that your documentation supports your decision on your procurement choice.

What are the consequences of not choosing the lowest price when selecting a contractor?

Make sure your documentation supports your decision for choosing this contractor when the lowest price is not the determining factor. For example, delivery, time requests, etc., would be more advantageous.

What if the contractor is quoting a higher price other than the price listed in their catalog/price list?

Agencies are under no obligation to pay a higher price other than what is stated in the contractor's catalog/price list.

Please inform Procurement Services immediately via the Vendor Complaint Form.

How long are the listed prices valid?

Prices for all contracts that have been awarded under the Richmond Supply Schedule are valid for one year from the start of the contract.

Can we use office supply vendors outside of the Richmond Supply Schedule contracts?

Only if the item is not available through contractors on the Richmond Supply Schedule. If the item is carried by the listed contractors, you must use one of them.

Is referencing a quote number on the purchase order sufficient?

While referencing the quote number may help the contractor, please be sure to put a description of the item(s) that you are procuring on the purchase order.

When should a purchase order number be given to the contractor?

The purchase order (PG) number must be given to the contractor upon placing the order. The contractor must receive a printed purchase order (PG) within three days of placing the order.

What if I need to place an order for office furniture?

Under the Richmond Supply Schedule, there are three contractors that can supply office furniture. First, start your request process with these contractors.

If you cannot obtain your desired item through these contractors, you may submit a purchase order (PD) from the vendor of your choice as long as the purchase is under $5,000.

If your purchase exceeds $5,000, you must follow the small purchase procurement guidelines.

What if I need to place an order for toner cartridges?

All purchases for toner cartridges must be purchased through an office supply contractor awarded under the Richmond Supply Schedule.

The only exception would be Dell OEM toner cartridges.

Upon receiving a quote, if there is one item that is higher than other quotes received, does a separate purchase order (PG) need to be created to the lowest bidder for that item?

No. Please use the overall totals of the quotes in order to determine the lowest bidder. Please note price may not be a determining factor for awarding the purchase request.

If a particular contractor was not awarded the order and requested copies of all quotes received, is it mandatory that we provide this information?

No. It is not mandatory. Disclosure is at your own discretion.

Sheriff and The Jail

Hours of Operation and Visitation at the City Jail

What are the Richmond City Jail's Business Hours of Operation?

Administrative offices are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

When does jail resident Visitation occur?

Visitation occurs on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Time FrameHours
Morning Visits9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Afternoon Visits1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Evening Visits6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
When can attorneys visit?

9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sending Correspondence to a jail resident

How can I write to a jail resident at the Richmond City Jail?

Send mail addressed in the following format:
(jail resident's First and Last Name, Jail Number)
Richmond City Jail
1701 Fairfield Way
Richmond, VA 23223

Visitation and jail resident Accounts

How can I put money on a jail resident account?

You may use Western Union or come to the Jail and deposit money into the kiosk in the front lobby.

How can I find out whether someone is in the Jail?

Call the Information Desk at (804)646-4464.

What information do I need to find out whether someone is in the Jail?

Their first and last name - no nickname or aliases.

How often can a jail resident have visits?

Jail residents are allowed one visit every seven days.

How many people can be on a jail resident's visitor list?

Jail residents may have a maximum of three people on their visitor list.

How many visitors can a jail resident have at one time?

A jail resident may have a maximum of three visitors at one time.

Are children included in the count of visitors?

Children under 16 years of age may visit with a jail resident and not be counted in the number of visitors.

Is identification necessary to visit a jail resident?

Yes. Identification is mandatory for all visitors over age 16.

Is there a dress code for visitors?

Sheer clothing and revealing clothing are not allowed. Profane words or images on clothing are not allowed.

Records & Classification

How long does it take for someone to be classified?

Generally, it takes 72 hours.

My son / daughter is currently incarcerated at RCJ and is on bond in Henrico General District Court. He has court on (any date). How does he get to court?

It is the responsibility of the individual on bond for a specific court to communicate with the respective court that he / she is currently incarcerated. Often, this is best accomplished by a family member.

How does a PB-15 (Probation Officer Warrant) get "lifted"?

Probation Officer is the only person authorized to "lift" remove a PB-15.

My son / daughter was released from court today at 9:15 a.m. It is 11 a.m. and I'm at the Jail. When is he / she going to be released?

All jail residents that go to court are released from the Richmond City Jail. Jail residents are not returned from court individually. Most jail residents begin to return to the Jail after 12 p.m. From return to release, it usually takes at least two hours.

How do I pay the money owed for back child support?

All payments must be made directly to the court in the form of cash or certified check.

What jail resident information can not be provided?

  • Projected release date of jail residents
  • attorney information
  • court dates for charges that are continued general
  • names on individual visitation lists

General Jail Operations

What are common telephone numbers requested by the public?

Department / AreaPhone Number
Richmond Police Dept(804)646-6718
Circuit Court One(804)646-6553
Circuit Court Two(804)646-8470
District Court One(804)646-6677
District Court Two(804)646-8990
Traffic Court (Northside)(804)646-6431
Juvenile Domestic Court(804)646-2942
Department of Corrections
General Information
(804)674-3000
Richmond Magistrate(804)646-6872
Probation & Parole District One(804)786-0251
When is the jail resident Carwash open?

The car wash is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

How does a Trustee working in Staff and Support (the division that uses the largest number of trustees) receive extra good time?

The trustee must perform tasks that he normally does not perform during his regular working hours. A letter is then submitted to the Sheriff from the Commander of the Staff and Support Division requesting the extra good time.

Medical and The Jail

Can a friend or family member call the Jail to receive jail resident medical information?

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 law does not allow us to give out any information on the medical condition of our residents without their written consent.

Must jail residents use only the Jail's medical doctor or are there other options?

All residents have the right to use medical services provided by the Richmond Sheriff's Office or they may have a licensed physician or dentist of their choice to come to the facility and provide services at the expense of the resident.

Are jail residents able to take any narcotic or psychotropic medicines with them upon release?

When residents are released from the facility for time served, the Jail does not release narcotics or psychotropic medications.

Social Services

Am I eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit program?

Go to the IRS website by clicking on the link below.

  • IRS EITC  - Earned Income Tax Credit - Questions and Answers

How can I become a foster parent?

If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please call (804)646-KIDS (5437).

How do I apply for benefits?

If you need help with the following benefits, visit one of our three locations, or contact us at 311.

You can also complete the Virginia Department of Social Services Online Application for Benefits.

How do I report abuse and neglect?

If you suspect abuse or neglect and have concern for a child's safety, please call the 24-hour abuse and neglect hotline at (800)552-7096.

How do I get help with heating and cooling expenses?

Help with heating and cooling expenses is available at certain points during the year. For more information or to apply for benefits, visit one of our three locations or contact us at 3-1-1.

How do I get in touch with Richmond Comprehensive Services Act (CSA)?

The Richmond Comprehensive Services Act office can be reached by calling 646-7445.

I’ve lost my Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. How do I get a new one?

If an EBT card is lost, stolen or damaged, the cardholder can call the toll free, 24-hour Virginia EBT Customer Service Help Line at (866)281-2448. After verifying the identity and address of the cardholder, the original card will be deactivated and a new one issued. If the cardholder’s address has changed, the cardholder must notify RDSS of the address change by calling 311 or their Benefit Program S pecialist. To obtain a new card in an emergency, contact Richmond Department of Social Services by calling 311 or visiting a service location.

How do I check the balance available on my EBT card?

To check the balance available on the EBT card to make food purchases, cardholders can call the customer service line at (866)281-2448 and enter the 16 digits on the front of the card. At the point of purchase, some stores will allow the cardholder to swipe the card, enter the PIN and check the available balance. Cardholders can also access their balance and transaction history online by selecting "Virginia" and logging in or creating an account.

Where do I send the information verifying my application for SNAP?

If you were instructed to send additional information for your application, please send copies in an envelope, with the name of your Benefit Program Specialist, if known, to

900 E. Marshall St.
Richmond, VA 23219

Information for Seniors?

Senior Navigator.



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